Thread Wallets makes the coolest elastic wallets in the market, complete with special designs to make them your own. Years ago when they were first starting out I actually was one of their original Kickstarter backers. What you might not have known is that it was originally just supposed to fund a sock company, their initial idea. Now, Thread Wallets is a 7-figure company that has landed on a multitude of top business lists, including being one of the 100 fastest growing companies in the state of Utah. Colby Bauer and his wife are the ones behind this unique take on wallets, and they run this business while raising their children as well.
Though Thread Wallets has seen plenty of success since the start, Colby has had his fair share of failures previously. He lost $20,000 on a software project gone wrong, and even his first initial Thread Wallets Kickstarter project only earned $2,000 of outside money. Yet from his failures he was able to unlock some of the keys to success and how to maintain a strong mind in the face of outside challenges.
Colby could have gone into decorative soccer socks but instead chose Thread Wallets. We really missed out on what could have been with that one. Please do some Thread Wallet soccer socks, Colby. I need them for my adult co-ed soccer league.
“You don’t have to hit a home run. Just get on base and work from there.”
“Be grateful for the rain when it’s raining, and don’t wait for the rainbow to come out.”
“When I asked [her dad] if I could marry his daughter he looked and me and said ‘If you don’t provide I’ll kill you.’ And he meant it.”
Thread Wallets Website: Click Here
Creativity, Inc. (Book): Click Here
Leadership and Self-Deception (Book): Click Here
Kyle Bringhurst 00:00
Today I’m sitting here with Colby Bauer, how’re you doing, man?
Colby Bauer 00:02
I’m so good.
Kyle Bringhurst 00:03
Awesome. Yeah, I’m actually here in the Thread Wallets headquarters. And it’s awesome. I mean, if you’ve seen their products, like they’ve got some really cool, unique styles and personalities, and it definitely represents itself here in the office too.
Colby Bauer 00:15
So you haven’t even seen half the office Dude, my favorite part is still yet to come. Really? We have a little mini ramp back there skate ramp. That’s my therapy. Oh, no.
Kyle Bringhurst 00:25
I don’t know how to skate at all. But I want to learn because snowboarding is like my big therapy during the winter. So I need something during the rest of the year.
Colby Bauer 00:32
Yes, you do. Now, because we have an indoor, it’s my therapy all year round. It’s honestly, seriously the best purchase I’ve made.
Kyle Bringhurst 00:39
That’s pretty cool. I like it a lot. And more and more of like the startup companies that are seeing success, realize that you need to have a fun work environment to be able to do that. So it’s it’s awesome that you are living what other companies are doing too. So yeah, work has to be a fun place. Nobody’s wanting to you don’t want to come and put in a lot of work if they’re not gonna enjoy.
Colby Bauer 00:58
exactly right, dude. Yeah, fun. Is it all encompassing with a skate ramp, but again, it’s quite literally my therapy. And I hope that honestly, our employees can use it when they need plus, we try to find some other things like gym passes, ski passes for the year. Those are our outlets as our lifestyle. So we have to make sure we cater to those those things.
Kyle Bringhurst 01:19
Yeah definitely. A little bit about Colby really quick. For those of you who don’t know, he’s actually the founder of a company that’s really cool, called Thread Wallets. And they started on Kickstarter, which is something that I know about, because I’ve done Kickstarter as well. And I love I buy a lot of stuff on Kickstarter, I actually got your guys’s phone case from your Kickstarter.
Colby Bauer 01:39
You’re one of 20 people.
Kyle Bringhurst 01:41
I want to get a little bit more into that. Because when you look at the numbers of like your Kickstarter, it doesn’t look like you would be this massive company now that you are but you guys are almost at eight figures. Now with revenue that you do. Last year in 2019, you are the fourth fastest growing company here in Utah County, I saw that you were also one of the fastest growing companies in Utah overall on one of those things, and you guys have seen a lot of success there. So it’s really cool that you just were able to take the time out to talk to me a little bit.
Colby Bauer 02:10
I love honestly, dude. I’m like stoked that you’re interviewing me for this specifically. Because you’re right, you hear day in day out all the successes of the people we look up to, but there’s so many little failures or big failures that come because you know, before that, and so I think getting real is gonna be fun. Yeah, getting deep. I’m excited. I guess to your point on Kickstarter, if you don’t mind me going off on that go for it. I mean, you can go watch the videos, and you can see flat out how big of a failure it was. So we launched we have three Kickstarters on the first one was more of a school project. And that one, just laughable. I mean, you’ll just die on how horrible it is.
Kyle Bringhurst 02:48
Yeah, I looked it up you did like $8,000 or something like that.
Colby Bauer 02:51
$8,000 not units. And what you see is actually not what we got, because we actually put in $6,000 of our own dollars. So I mean, I know exactly facing it looks way better than it is. But I mean, raising two grand in 30 days is nothing to be proud of. But what it did was we’re able to fund a printer so that we could print on the wallets directly. So it was just barely enough to actually get this thing going. But when you see and you’re comparing yourself to the other wallet, minimalist wallet companies that do over $100,000-$300,000, you look and think there’s no way in hell this is gonna work. This is not viable at all. So it took a while honestly, to get through that because I just had these expectations like this is gonna go well, it didn’t fell on his face.
Colby Bauer 03:40
Luckily, we decided to give it another go for whatever reason. And we did a little bit better. We raised 30 grand, but that’s still not a homerun, it’s nothing they’d be like, you know, it’s not really noteworthy through that all early on being married, that was like, right when we got married. That’s so scary, because honestly, I wanted entrepreneurship to be my lifestyle, more than anything, and I had other opportunities. So it wasn’t like, you know, we’re gonna starve by any means. But like, as far as my personality goes, I’d rather starve as an entrepreneur then be living in the corporate life. You know, like I just for me, if it didn’t work out, I would have been extremely bummed. And so it was a slow start, relatively speaking, but it was just enough to get that validity that we needed.
Kyle Bringhurst 04:25
So where did you come up with the idea for Thread?
Colby Bauer 04:28
The idea of Thread was in 2014. In a class, there was a conference that this class said it was the title of it was start and launch a Kickstarter campaign within 24 hours. I was like, done, you got me. So I like stayed for 24 hours, or whatever it was throughout the whole day, and the next day, just ideating. And so throughout, they were giving some examples of things that did well, and a lot of them were small products while it’s were in there. And so I kind of saw this theme, this trend of minimalism that I thought was very trendy but there was still this like gap of boringness. You know, it’s like this black and brown sea of bulky wallets that I didn’t want to partake in. I was more expressive. I like lifestyle brands. So I thought, why don’t we just put a little twist on the minimalist Wallet. So I came up with the idea of the elastic wallet, somewhat hijacking, honestly, hijacking an idea. But then bringing it to life, you know, I throw on the key ring. And then also, we started to put on prints and patterns that resonated with us. And so that’s honestly where the idea came. But then it took about a year after that before we actually said, let’s pull the trigger on it. Gotcha.
Kyle Bringhurst 05:41
Were there any other minimalist ideas that you were considering at that point?
Colby Bauer 05:46
So again, thanks for asking these questions. Because what people don’t know about thread is it actually started out as a sock company. Okay, so it was going to be a not minimalist, but to answer your question, but it was a soccer sock company. So I played soccer. And I noticed that the training socks were always just mixed matched, anybody would wear whatever everything else was uniform, Nike from head to toe, whatever colors were spot on. And then you look at their socks. And it’s like, one person’s wearing stance, the other person’s wearing Adidas, the other person’s wearing, you know, low cut. And I just thought, how can we uniform that and be the supplier for soccer socks, trading socks, and throw logos or colors on it? So like in practice, yeah, more training socks. So that’s the idea. That was the original idea. And we launched the Kickstarter for wallets to get that printer that I was telling you about. That printer was going to be used to print on the socks.
Kyle Bringhurst 06:42
So Thread was supposed to just be kind of like a speed bump to get the sock companies started.
Colby Bauer 06:47
Yeah, it was to be it was kind of the vehicle to raise because it was we had to order 5000 pairs of socks and we didn’t have the money for that. But we could go buy elastic at Joanne’s fabric for extremely cheap or from we found a supplier in California super cheap, right? So it’s just like an easier startup cost. So we said, well, let’s use that as the vehicle to the bigger business, which would be socks come to find out that we started to get these wallets out there. And people love them. And I started thinking through the category of socks was way more competitive than the category of wallets. And I thought if we could validate this further, and it would do well. I think there’s a bigger niche in wallets. So we had ordered 5000 pairs of white socks to print on. And we had to cancel that order. I want to say it was like 7000 $8,000 or something at that time. That’s you know, that was like our whole Kickstarter. So we had to cancel this order of $1,000 worth of socks and get zero socks because we wanted to stop production. But in because of that we wouldn’t get any of the socks. And so anyway, long story short, we were out eight grand, but we had the printer. And then we just started buying plastic and started doing the wallet thing.
Kyle Bringhurst 07:58
Wow. Yeah. See, I didn’t know any of that backstory there. And that’s why I love doing this podcast. I mean, we were talking about it a little bit before we got started to it’s just, you hear all these cool stories that nobody knows about. There’s so much that goes into creating a successful business. And you have to go through like a lot of failures as far as ideas or other products or other companies that you start to get to where you are now. So I kind of want to jump back a little bit with like younger Colby, where did your entrepreneurial attitude come from?
Colby Bauer 08:30
So there was a flight I was on with my dad, my best friend Chris. And we started drawing on paper on this airplane, how old are you as 14 ish, and started drying up just whatever. We were really no wakeboarding. So we were like, Let’s start you know, just do like a wakeboarding clothing line, right? And talked about it for like an hour straight. And my dad was like leaned over and said, Why don’t you guys actually go for this? Like, why are you just talking about it? Like, why don’t when we land, I’ll help you set up an LLC. And let’s get this thing going. And I was like, you know, 14, I was like, There’s no way I’m gonna run a business. But my dad supported me. And I love, love, love creativity, and I love the fashion industry. And so that was already part of me.
Colby Bauer 09:13
Entrepreneurship is also part of me, I think it’s just kind of in my nature to want to start something and create something. But that trigger for my dad, you know, helped me push we launched a clothing line called Shakeology, and started selling to local surf shop or skate shops, and at school and stuff, so it didn’t like it wasn’t a huge, huge success. But it was enough to get that bug, you know, like, well, we can sell stuff and when we did it, yeah. So that’s where it really began. I wouldn’t say it was a failure, but I wouldn’t say it was a major success. But it was just that starting point to get me going on on my path of entrepreneurship.
Kyle Bringhurst 09:48
Gotcha. You mentioned obviously, like failure and success there. I kind of want to dive deeper with that now. So when it comes to thread from where you started to work You are now what would you say has been your biggest obstacle and your biggest challenge?
Colby Bauer 10:05
Can I answer a different question? Yeah, I’m gonna answer a different question only because I don’t want to miss this. miss this one. So there was a venture I tried right before Thread, okay. And it was in technology. It was an app. So it was like, right when apps are like, really getting hot, was good friends with Garrett G, he started scan. Yeah. And we played soccer together. And I started to see the success he got into right, like, really early on. And so I thought I could do that, too. I’m going to try it. I’m going to try an app. And you know, find some developers design about right and kind of follow his footsteps really looked up to him. And at BYU, they really start you know, they started teaching tech tech tech, it was like, all the rage, right. And so I thought, Okay, I’m gonna get into tech, I’m gonna, I’m gonna do this.
Colby Bauer 10:51
So I convinced my dad to give me $20,000 and start an app, I hired two developers. And that 20 grand was gone in like four months, and I had no more money, we had a very, very crappy beta version of the app. We had run, I had launched it through big events, we did like a big party, does a few grand. And so we had, you know, hats and shirts, and all this stuff and all like the hype for the app, and then no app, and I had no more money, and I wasn’t going to go and ask my dad for more money. So I would say on one hand, I was a success, because I learned a lot. But it was a major failure. As far as financially, we made $0, we had nothing to show of it. And I knew, I think the success came of it was I knew I didn’t want to be in tech. I was like, I want to start something in fashion. So yep.
Kyle Bringhurst 11:44
So just out of curiosity, what kind of app was it?
Colby Bauer 11:48
So it’s called pig play. And if you’ve ever played Apples to Apples before, yeah, it was a mobile version of that, but with pictures, so one person would submit a phrase of some kind, let’s just say it was super bowl. And then everybody would anonymously throw in their pictures or gifts or whatever else. And then the person who submitted the phrase Super Bowl would then go through all of them. And they’re, you know, be funny, some very crude or whatever. And then they pick the winner. And then that’s when all the names would become revealed.
Kyle Bringhurst 12:20
That’s a good idea.
Colby Bauer 12:21
I thought was a great idea, too. But ended up not Yeah, yeah. It’s harder than it looks right. But to answer your other question, the biggest challenge is trying to balance out being newly married and starting a business at the same time.
Kyle Bringhurst 12:36
And it’s not only that you’re newly married, but your wife also started the business with you.
Colby Bauer 12:42
So Mckenzie is co founder and our current CMO. So she has, she’s always on all the marketing. She’s amazing at it. But we had to learn very early on how to communicate. And we’re still trying to learn that, but I feel like it’s expedited our marriage as far as like how we can get on the same page. But dude, there was points in early stages, where I’m like, There’s no way this is gonna work out. Like, it’s gnarly. I mean, the the amount of stress that comes along with starting a business, but then also tagalong, starting a marriage. And you know, if you have conflicting views, or if you just don’t know how to communicate, yeah, we’re both pretty stubborn. We’re both pretty, like aggressive, and to a degree. And that was hard. That was probably the hardest time was this first two, three years trying to figure everything out and keep the marriage alive.
Kyle Bringhurst 13:33
So you mentioned that there were like, a few moments and a few times where you didn’t know if it was gonna work, whether it be like the marriage or Thread or I don’t know what you’re talking about there. But do any of those moments come to mind specifically, Can you expound on any of those?
Colby Bauer 13:49
Oh, man, it’s such a personal question. But yeah, I mean, just to give you an idea, I would say, we had an argument, like a heated argument probably once a day, you know, that slowly went to like once a week, and then slowly went to once a month. Now, it’s probably like, once every few months, but when we have an argument, it’s like a massive, you know, we make up for all the last time. But yeah, I think it just that stress of trying to figure out because we got married relatively quick. I mean, we’re like married within six months of meeting each other. Oh, wow. So as quick and trying to figure them out, trying to figure yourself out how to live with somebody, and then on top of that, start a business.
Colby Bauer 14:33
Another idea, give you another idea. Her dad’s one of the best guys, I know. But when I asked him if I could marry his daughter, he said, if you don’t provide you’ll, I’ll kill you. And he meant it. He looked at me and said it and I was like, okay. So I mean, I know there was a level of truth to that, you know, like, and then like this obligation, I felt the weight of that starting and he’s kind of like this traditional mindset to where he’s, he went through life as a financial advisor. So he has this like a plus b equals c. So for me, that was like, scary to dive into entrepreneurship with that kind of I was living in his home.
Kyle Bringhurst 15:10
So that’s hanging over your head and you’re living with him.
Colby Bauer 15:13
Yeah, exactly. Not that it caused any tension between our relationship. Like I said, he’s, he’s been amazing, but I just felt the weight of my responsibility. So that tagged along, you know, starting a business and entrepreneurship, that business for me was so scary. There’s a lot of stress involved in it. That just kind of triggered arguments between my wife and I, I can’t give you like any others. But there’s times you know, lots of tears, lots of yelling, lots of doubt, you know, lots of drives, where I’m just, you know, kind of thinking, and I don’t want to make it sound like our marriage was horrible, too. Because it’s, it was amazing to like, there’s an we’re, we’re strong and healthy, no doubt, but I would be not doing it justice. If I said, it was just all amazing and smooth sailing, because it was not.
Kyle Bringhurst 16:00
So kind of touching on on that a little bit. Let’s just go with you personally, like in your, I guess, just mentally were there any times with Thread where you were like, Okay, this isn’t gonna work, I need to throw in the towel. And were there any times that you literally thought that it wasn’t gonna last any longer?
Colby Bauer 16:20
I know, that’s probably not the answer you want to hear for this podcast. But no, only because I’m not driven by the present moment, I’m driven by what it can be the potential and having a vision like that the vision was never put off or distracted. Like I always, I always could work through the tough times I never looked at when I was in those tough times, like this is the end for sure. Like, I’ve never, that’s just not my mindset. But as far as financially speaking, we don’t have any, like investment investors, we don’t have any, we didn’t have any debt at the time. Like we didn’t have loans or anything. But luckily, by miracles, we had enough money to pay for taxes one year where like, if we didn’t, somehow it was due to a long story short, we went to a farmers market and made the pretty much the exact amount of money that we needed to pay for taxes the following year, because I was stupid, and I didn’t save up for taxes. So yeah, so I definitely lucked out many, many, many times. I mean, the stars have aligned countless times to get us through those tough times. But to answer your question, I genuinely say, No, there wasn’t a time where I thought Thread would fail.
Kyle Bringhurst 17:32
I think that’s a really key mindset that most successful people have. Because if you think in the past, obviously, you’re never going to do anything, because you’re just literally stuck where you are. But I found that the people that I’ve talked to on this podcast are just in general, who have a good attitude, and who are able to overcome a lot of hard things that they’ve gone through personally or professionally, they all have something farther ahead of them in mind, they never focused too much on the what are we going through right now. Because if you have that mentality, it’s hard to like every one of us have bad days, we all have days where we get in a car crash, we all have days where some tragedy happens.
Kyle Bringhurst 18:13
And if we only think about that present, that’s going to overwhelm us, because that’s literally the only thing that’s on our mind. And that makes it really hard if you only think about that. But if you think about the future, and if you have another goal in mind, or, for example, I’m religious, and like with death, if you don’t, if you only think of the present, it’s really hard when someone dies. But I believe that there’s life after death, too. And so it makes it easier to move forward and keep going there. Good analogy. So like with business as well, if you have the belief of what it can grow to be in the future, and you never let that settle, you never become stagnant with that, then it’s easier to overcome the road bumps that you have, because that brings me to like goals. You always want to have goals farther ahead.
Kyle Bringhurst 19:03
You never want to be complacent with reaching your goal like Tom Brady. I was just reading an article about him. I’m a big Patriots fan. So I love them. And Charlie Weis he was one of the Patriots offensive coordinators. And he was telling a story just recently about how he was talking to Tom Brady and asked him like where he would want to go because he’s a free agent, and he can make a lot of money. And Tom just said, I’m just focused on where I can win my next championship. Like, he doesn’t care about anything else. He’s always people have asked him all the time. What’s your favorite championship? He always says the next one because he always is establishing goals ahead of himself that he hasn’t quite reached yet. And that’s, that’s one thing that I’ve just noticed with talking to people and just reading and seeing a lot of the stories of successful people is if they reach a goal, they immediately set a new one. They maybe give themselves a day to prepare. And then the next day they say Okay, our next goal is this other thing in the Future there’s, I mean, otherwise you just become you peak in high school like that phrase right there, you just live in the past of what you’ve done and nothing else.
Colby Bauer 20:07
Totally. So, yeah, I mean, the quote, success is never a straight line, you have to go, you know, there’s a lot of small micro failures and pivots along the way. For me question marks of what can happen, what can it become is what drives me the most. And so, whatever comes along, throughout my, to my goal, whatever, like, tragedy, like you said, or failure, whatever comes along, I can, I guess, maybe just see clearly what I want to land on. And that that makes it so much easier. I was gonna mention, though, I think one thing looking back, and you kind of helped me reminisce here on why the stress levels were so high, early on, alongside the marital issues, but also business. And then my mom, for my whole life has been an alcoholic and drug addict.
Colby Bauer 20:58
And so there was times where, and I think you when you said something about death, where there was a period where I was kind of just praying that my mom would die, because it was so emotionally taxing on the ups and downs, that would have been easier. If she just died, she didn’t, she’s still struggling through her addiction. But that I think, is probably the hardest time that I’ve ever had to. And I don’t think I’m still a yet. I’m not there yet. But to look past the failure, and see what it can become, because I’ve quite frankly, almost lost a little bit of hope on if my mom can get sober or not. And so that, to me is one that I still struggled to get through. So even though it’s a natural ability for me to kind of look past failures, and see, there’s still those bigger failures that I have the hardest time just getting through.
Kyle Bringhurst 21:52
So with your mom, they’re obviously going through her struggles and trying to become sober and everything. What are some of the things that you did? Obviously, those are her her struggles that she’s going through, but it affects you in your life a lot. And it can create a lot of stress, like you said, but it seems like you’re in a much better place now, in as far as like not letting her struggles affect you.
Colby Bauer 22:23
So by nature, I’m a problem solver. And so whenever things like that happen, if she’d relapse, I just wanted to fix it. And if I didn’t know how to fix it, that’s what where my stress would peak. Yeah. And I couldn’t get out of those holes of just feeling emotional. What I’ve come to learn is, it’s not really my problem to solve, and I can do my best. But ultimately, it’s going to rely she has to do it. And she has to rely on God and whatever else to get her through it. So I guess I’ve just come to this mindset that I’m not going to solve it, I can’t solve it. And so I have accepted that. And so in my mind, while it’s still emotional and sad to watch her go through it, I’m not affected. Like you said as much to the degree of stress that I used to be.
Kyle Bringhurst 23:10
That reminds me of, I’ve mentioned this on my podcast multiple times. But my favorite book that I’ve ever read is called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*#$. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard that want to read it. But it’s incredible, because it’s like the antithesis of a self help book. Because most of them, it’s like rah rah, you can do everything, all this stuff. Now, there’s a chapter that’s called, you’re going to die. There’s another chapter called you’re not special, but it made me realize that whole book, the message is, you have to accept reality how it is like, and it’s hard. Because I’m an extreme optimist. I always think about the future. And so I don’t want to believe that any bad things can exist in life. And it’s really hard to wrap my mind around a lot of those. But for example with the death one like you are going to die. Yeah, you’re out of control.
Kyle Bringhurst 24:00
Yeah, there’s so many people that allow death or fear of what’s what could happen in the future, stop them from doing anything big. And so he just talked about his personal experiences of how once he accepted that he was going to die. I mean, there’s so many movies. Have you ever seen the movie The bucket list? Yeah, it’s very similar to that. Once you accept that you Oh, you’re gonna die. You stop giving a flying fluff about anything that people think and you start actually trying to do things to reach your goals. And you don’t care about any of the failures there. So it’s just it all comes down to like what you were mentioning with your mom learning to accept the realities they are and learning to accept what you can control because same with me, my my parents are divorced. And so when when I was in high school, and they were going through that, I really struggled with it. I pretended I didn’t.
Kyle Bringhurst 24:54
And for years, I pretended that it didn’t affect me at all but deep down like looking back I know it did we cuz I thought I can fix this. I’m in the house too. I can, I can remedy it. And so then when they got divorced, it was weird because I kind of reflected that on myself. I was like, Oh, I wasn’t good enough to save the relationship or anything. And so for a while, like, I was just bitter about it. And I was really upset at them. Yes, a little bit, but mainly myself for letting that hold me back for so many years. And it’s only after going through my own divorce, that I actually realized that so it was like, a no, it was like 10 years of time where between their divorce and when I got divorced, that I was just had these issues that I was dealing with inside, but I didn’t know what they were. That’s interesting. So like, once I went through that, and then I looked back on the past, and I was like, Oh, it was because I thought that I could solve it. But in reality, I can’t. And so then as soon as I recognize that all the pain and all the stress went away,
Colby Bauer 25:53
Yeah, I similar, I was in high school, and my parents got divorced. And I felt the same. I honestly thought I could control it. And I thought I put a lot of blame on myself. But you’re right, there’s just things that are going to happen. And when they do happen, it’s just a matter of how you react to it that can get you through or not. And so it’s for me, looking back, I’m grateful for failure. I’m grateful that my parents got divorced, it taught me how to adjust to change, I had to move out with my mom and my sister, they were not stable mentally. And so I had to kind of carry the household. And I had to learn how to, you know, be introduced to a new school, and that type of change. I mean, that’s the only thing consistent in life change.
Colby Bauer 26:38
And so, honestly, that prepped me for entrepreneurship, prepped me for marriage and prepped me for my mission, I went on a mission for the LDS church. And I look back and I can see failure, and be grateful for it now. And so now my My motto is to be grateful for the rain when it’s raining, and not wait till the rainbow comes out to be grateful for the rain. So be grateful when it’s stormy and try to what I say is like, have a shallow rock bottom. So when you fail, fail quickly and learn from it and move forward as fast as you can. Those things to me is I mean, that’s what gets me through. That’s what got me through those early stages of Thread and my marriage. So I love that.
Kyle Bringhurst 27:18
I’d never heard that quote before, or I don’t know if it’s a quote from someone else. Or if it’s just your quote from Dieter F. Uchtdorf. Yeah, I love that aspect on life. Because same goes with everything, you can’t appreciate the good times unless you go through the bad times. And I mean, life’s a roller coaster anyway. And so you’re gonna go through good times, and bad times, no matter what you do, but you might as well take charge of it so that you can take ownership of those good times and bad times as well. So I want to go back to what you said about not letting the failures and the struggles of life keep you down. Because we’ve both gone through a lot of hard things in our lives, and everyone goes through hard things in their lives. And it can be really hard to bounce back. But it’s a matter of mindset 100% How do you not let failure keep you down? In those moments? What do you do to be able to move forward and use that as a growth platform?
Colby Bauer 28:10
I try to treat failure as a learning opportunity. So whenever I do fail, big or small, I can try to analyze why there’s a failure, and then learn from it. So it doesn’t happen again. Obviously, it will it just kind of is that way, but you can try to start making these micro adjustments. And when you do that, that’s when I think progression actually takes place when you can figure out what was wrong and try to change it. So to me, it’s just failure is inevitable. You know, weaknesses are inevitable. And so it just kind of looking back and see how can I avoid those again, and that’s what drives me progression is the most addicting thing. I mean, that’s why I love skateboarding, I love snowboarding, those little things like say, an ollie, for instance, on a skateboard.
Colby Bauer 28:57
Like, you have to place your foot on a certain spot on the board, you have to slide it out at a certain pace, you know, you have to jump at the certain time, right? That to me is a no brainer. Now like I can do that without thinking but early on, you fell and fell again you hurt your shins you roll your ankles plenty of times. But making those kind of like every time you all you go okay, what did I do that time that was so good or what? You know, what did I do wrong? That’s just a, you know, a small example. But like treating that in life to where you’re just making these micro adjustments and kind of consistently analyzing how to improve. That’s honestly what gets me through it.
Kyle Bringhurst 29:34
I think that’s a really good example. Because every once in a while I’ll stop myself and wonder like, how many Tony Hawks to use your skateboarding example, how many Tony Hawks or Shaun White’s did we not see because they didn’t keep going for that first time that they didn’t do a 180 or 360 or any of that stuff like there’s just so much untapped potential that we don’t see and we can’t appreciate it because people stop after that first failure. But you hear sometimes like fail stands for first attempt and learning. A lot of times you have to think of it as that. It’s literally the first attempt. It doesn’t mean if you try something you’re you shouldn’t expect to be good at immediately if you do you have unrealistic expectations there. So you should expect to fail, knowing that you can learn from that and get closer to your goal of success there.
Kyle Bringhurst 30:25
Yep, just really quick to kind of wrap things up. I like to always go through our lightning round with our guests on here. Just some of my favorite questions. And are these lighthearted, by the way, because you can say, Yeah, however you want to answer fine there. So you can literally take ownership of all this and anything there so okay. Yeah, the first one that I have is just what is your biggest fear?
Colby Bauer 30:48
On a real level? One of my kids dying. On a fake level Cheeto fingers. Cheeto fingers, they scare me dude.
Kyle Bringhurst 30:55
Did you see the Superbowl commercial? Yeah. This was so fun. Yeah, the first one is very real. A second one. I could never say that. I’ve had that fear of Cheeto fingers. That’s a very, very unique answer I can expect to ever get down again. So I like it. Second question is what is your personal definition of failure?
Colby Bauer 31:16
Failure is just a step to success.
Kyle Bringhurst 31:19
So what would you consider to be failure then?
Colby Bauer 31:22
Giving up. Failure is giving up completely.
Kyle Bringhurst 31:24
Couldn’t agree more than the next one is, what is one personal habit that you have in your life that has contributed to your personal success?
Colby Bauer 31:32
Pray. Dude, having God as a business partner is the best thing you can ever get? I can’t tell you how many miracles I see. I mean, you see the hand of God every time you pray, I can attribute all my success to prayer.
Kyle Bringhurst 31:48
That’s awesome. Yeah. I’ve never heard that as something there. So I like the unique answers that you’re giving me there? That’s really good one. And then the next question is kind of twofold. Number one is, what is the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received? And then what piece of advice would you give to our listeners out there who have a business but it’s really struggling, and they don’t know if they’re going to be able to make it successful?
Colby Bauer 32:12
Best piece of advice for life is come with me and love it. So just whatever comes just enjoy it and accept it. But that’s kind of different from the advice I’d give to a business owner, business owner, I’d say simplicity wins the day. And you don’t have to hit a homerun you can just get on base and then work from there.
Kyle Bringhurst 32:31
By simplicity wins the day, do you mean just like focus on one type of thing? Or what do you mean?
Colby Bauer 32:37
Early stages, you can get overwhelmed by all the different marketing strategies, all the different social medias, different products that you could launch? And if you think the grass is greener, you’re going to chase those things, and then you get distracted. So staying simple. So pick one social media platform focus. And then within social media, you focus on one strategy is that giveaways? Is it influencer marketing, and just stay extremely simple, our elastic wallet, It’s our flagship product, we kept that on our site for two and a half years as the only product before we launched anything new. And that was so we could nail down our logistics, the operations, the finances, etc. And so we could lay a foundation for the growth. And so that simplicity of just like having one product and focus on just Instagram, and all that like that was keeping it simple as was crucial in our success.
Kyle Bringhurst 33:33
One of my favorite business, I can’t say mentor because I’ve never met her. But it’s Sara Blakely from Spanx. And she did the same thing with Spanx. That was her flagship product, she didn’t establish anything else or design anything else for five years. She literally only did that. Exactly. And so she got really good at one thing made that what she was well known for. And then she started branching out and expanding there, right. But there’s so many people that are, it’s like the dog from up squirrel. Like they focus on all these new ideas that come up. And they’re like, Oh, if we sell this as well, we can be successful, or we can have this and be successful and just have way too many things.
Kyle Bringhurst 34:10
Yeah, and there’s really only one business that offers a ridiculous amount of products that has been really successful. And that’s the Cheesecake Factory. But like their menu, you can find anything. So many different offerings there, but they’re the only one that I know of that has something like that. That doesn’t really make any sense that is successful. So look at the majority. Okay, in and out. Yeah, exactly. They’ve got a hamburger and a cheeseburger and fries. That’s all they do. And they’re freaking successful. So, yeah, I like that a lot. And then the last question in the lightning round is I’m a really, really big reader. So I love talking about books. I love reading. I have the goal of reading a book a week this year. So that’s something that is really hard to do, but I’ve been working on that. So for you personally, what is your favorite book and why?
Colby Bauer 34:59
Creativity, Inc. Is it’s written by the CEO. Yeah, he’s the CEO and President of both Disney and Pixar animation. He just has an outside of the box way of thinking and approach to business that I think is refreshing in our culture. And I think everyone who’s going to run a business or even if you’re just working in a business needs to read that one, because it will help. Another one I’ll just add another is Leadership and Self Deception. So that’s just how you can approach tough conversations, how you can treat people as people, that’s just going to help with all relationships in general.
Kyle Bringhurst 35:42
Gotcha. Cool. Creativity, Inc, is actually my book that I’m going to read next week. So I’m really looking forward to All right, I’ve never read it now. You’ll love it. Yeah. I’m super excited about that. And then I’ll have to look into the other one, too. Yes, you should. Obviously leadership is a big deal. When you whenever you have business, and even for families, or whatever you do you, you should always know how to have good conversations and be able to lead people. So I’m going to look into that. And then just to wrap up here, as well, I want to jump back to Thread and to you personally. I’m just curious as far as like what you guys have planned for the future there. Obviously, you’re not satisfied. Now. You already set up something horse farther along the lines there. So what are some of the goals that you have for thread and then for you, as Colby personally?
Colby Bauer 36:25
Thread is going to start diversifying our sales channels. Currently, we’re in like 95% of it is ecommerce. So that’s Amazon and our website, we want to start getting into more retail stores. So working with retailers like Zumies Urban Outfitters so you can start to see Thread nationwide in those stores. And then also, as far as product goes, we really want to start getting out of the niche of wallets. So we’re going to be dropping the name wallets and focusing on Thread. And then I’ll let those accessories and other products be a surprise. But I’m looking forward to that.
Kyle Bringhurst 37:00
When can we expect those?
Colby Bauer 37:01
This fall we’re launching or actually end of summer, we’re launching one product that’s outside of the wallet category. And then the following year, we’ll be doing a few more cool. Can’t wait for that. I’m excited about that. And then I resist formalities quite a bit. I’m just like this, I like to be a little bit less formal and less professional, I guess professionals not the word, but just I think I need to get more. Okay with professionalism and formality. So this year is a huge focus on that with myself and within Thread.
Kyle Bringhurst 37:32
And then finally, the very last thing is obviously, a lot of our business owners or a lot of our listeners either have a small business or they want to start a small business. And so they like to connect with a lot of our guests to where can they learn more about you and about Thread?
Colby Bauer 37:50
Just go on threadwallets.com for me if you want to reach out via email, it’s firstname.lastname@example.org
Kyle Bringhurst 37:58
Colby is a super genuine guy. I literally just reached out to him randomly there. And he responded. So thanks again for letting me come to the headquarters here. It’s awesome. It’s been really cool. Just to kind of follow your journey there because I learned about you in like 2016, so very early on. And I had no idea how much you had grown until, like I saw you on some of those year and lists and rankings. And I was like well, a wallet company that is literally made with like elastic band can be one of that. I’m just as shocked as you ever. It’s been really cool. So I can’t wait to be able to see what you guys have in in the lineup coming in the next few months and just seeing your continued success.
Colby Bauer 38:36
Oh man. Thanks so much, Kyle. Thanks for having me.