This episode with Betsy Mikesell has been a year and a half in the making. We were initially scheduled to have the interview last March, but Covid happened. Then we rescheduled for August, but also had to cancel that because she and some of her family actually were in a plane crash. They all survived, but now face injuries and recoveries that may last a lifetime. During the first few months after the crash, her company, Beddy’s, actually was thriving because earlier that year she had established systems that would allow her to step back, if needed. Unfortunately, she needed to, but it was thanks to this smart planning that allowed her company to still push forward without her needing to be hands on.
Listen to this week’s episode to learn all about how she and her family are bouncing back from the plane crash, and see how she set her business up to be successful without her having to be there all the time (every entrepreneur’s dream).
You know how making the bed is the worst thing in the world? Well Betsy made a bedding set that is super quick and comfortable, and she is also knows how to overcome life’s toughest trials.
“Don’t be an askhole. Make sure you’re providing something in return.”
“Stick with someone who’s a similar size.”
“Failure is sitting there with a bad decision, rather than continuing to move on.”
Beddy’s Website: Click Here
The Power of Vulnerability (Audiobook): Click Here
Kyle Bringhurst 00:00
Okay, how are you doing Betsy?
Betsy Mikesell 00:02
I’m doing great.
Kyle Bringhurst 00:03
Good. So I am super excited to be here. I’m sitting here with Betsy Mikesell of… I almost said Betsy’s. But the company’s called Beddy’s.
Betsy Mikesell 00:12
Okay. The funny thing is, is when we named it Beddy’s, it was like, I thought we were being creative on making your bed with ease. And no idea. It sounds sort of words of Betsy. Do you get that mix up the time. And the funny thing is, my real name is Elizabeth. So like, going to the bank. They know me as Elizabeth, but our banker would call me Betty. He’s like, hi, Angie. Hi, Betty. Okay.
Kyle Bringhurst 00:36
So it’s not your name. But technically, it could be your name. Yeah. Right. So. So it has been awesome to see what you guys have done. You guys have been on the Inc 5000. list. And now you’re on the Inc 500 list of the top companies in the country, which is incredible. Congratulations. Thank you also have over 20 employees now, which if I remember right, I did a little bit of research. But you started. And basically for the first few years, you didn’t pay yourself anything real? No. So for the fact that you went from that to now being able to pay over 20 other people to is astounding. And you guys did over $30 million in revenue last year. How long has it been since you have started now.
Betsy Mikesell 01:17
So the actual invention and working on it was about 10 years ago, but we didn’t start selling product till seven years ago. We’re on our seven year anniversary. But I think that because it took years to find manufacturing, fix the design, going through the patent process. So I feel like there were a lot of things like that were going on before we could actually launch.
Kyle Bringhurst 01:36
So you did all the patent stuff and everything before you even launched it initially.
Betsy Mikesell 01:41
Well, we had applied for the patent. It took us a couple years to get the patent. But yes, yes. Wow. It was a long process.
Kyle Bringhurst 01:47
That is not my way of doing it. All right, I’ve got an idea. I’m just gonna go for it today. So the fact that you had the foresight to do all that preparation, and the legal protection is probably huge, because I don’t know if this is the case, but I would imagine that was something as simple as fabric and zippers, you’ve probably had to deal with some knockoffs in the market.
Betsy Mikesell 02:08
A couple but luckily, it’s been okay. So yeah.
Kyle Bringhurst 02:11
That’s awesome. So just for our listeners, I want to go back to the beginning and hear a little bit about you your history. How long has it been, since you could confidently say that you are an entrepreneur at heart?
Betsy Mikesell 02:25
I don’t know. But maybe it starts back to when I used to babysit. And I’d like put together babysitting boxes because I wanted to be the person everyone called. And then babysitting boxes, what is that? Like? I just put all these toys in playdough in different books. So when I’d go babysit these kids, they thought I was the coolest. That was fun. And then I liked working because I always like had something I wanted to buy. You know, I remember buying my first bike and I was a Subway sandwich artist as certified sandwich artist. I did take a test for that one world. That was great. But I got a 25 minute raise. It was proud of that. Okay, and then I thought I wanted to be a dental hygienist and I was like, Oh my gosh, this is great. It’d be great job. I could just work a few days a week. And then my senior year I decided to be a dental assistant, and quickly realized that like, that’s not my thing. I don’t love working in that atmosphere in people’s mouth. It’s funny because I thought and like how many people don’t brush their teeth was hard for me. Anyway, so I ended up going to hair school and doing hair and I loved it. And honestly, that’s what I did until three or four years ago, I was a hairdresser full time loved it. And that’s how I even paid to start Beddy’s so my being a hairdresser is what funded Beddy’s in the beginning, I guess you could say.
Kyle Bringhurst 03:37
So when you were a hairdresser, were you working under people like at another salon? Or was it your own clientele?
Betsy Mikesell 03:43
Yep, it was my own clientele. So I guess yeah, yeah. I guess because I just felt like it was only working for myself. Yeah, like having employees. But yeah, I loved it. And I wasn’t even looking to start a new company. I had twins with bunk beds. And it was driving me crazy that they couldn’t make their bunk beds. And so I just made my own solution. And it was my clients and friends that are like, let’s see, this is a really good idea. You should patent it, and you should start a business. And even when I did start, I still thought oh, we’ll just do like a little side hobby kind of thing.
Kyle Bringhurst 04:12
So that was 10 years ago, you said when you had the idea, roughly. Yeah. How did you go about just designing that going through that whole process?
Betsy Mikesell 04:22
So my original version does not look anything like what we make today. Okay, the idea was there. Yeah. So I just went over to my mom’s house one Saturday, and I’m like, Mom, I just need help. I bought elastic. I bought the longest zippers, I could find a Hobby Lobby which were like three feet long. And so it didn’t go the full length of the bed. It just went like halfway down the bed. So it was it was just like a glorified sleeping bag, which I know people still refer that to our bedding. But now our bidding is way cool. But in the beginning it was I mean it it did the job and my kids loved it. The crazy thing is, is I heard my daughter bribing my boys. She’s like, I’ll give you $1 If I can sleep in your bed tonight my dollars like a million dollars to my kids because that means that the Stories of her eyes like that’s a big deal. So when I heard that, like Alyssa, why do you want to sleep in their bed? It’s so much warmer and like, it’s not warmer than your bedding, you literally have the same comforter. And she’s like, No, Mom, it stays on you so much better. And that’s when I realized like, oh, it’s not just like making the bed that made things better. But like they would leave one site to definitely cover.
Kyle Bringhurst 05:20
See, I never even thought of it in that regard to I always just thought, oh, it’s because I don’t want to make my bed in the morning to keep it looking nice.
Betsy Mikesell 05:27
Yeah, that is the whole reason I did it. My sanity I was little.
Kyle Bringhurst 05:34
Man, that’s awesome. When you said that it took you about three years to go through the whole process of applying for patent and going through like manufacturing and all that.
Betsy Mikesell 05:44
And the design president. So really refining the design and figuring out what we wanted to do. And we traveled, I went to the local fabric store. And I’m like, okay, so I wanted to do business. And they’re like, well, you should go to the fabric Expo type thing. It’s in North Carolina. It’s like, okay, and that was the next week. So we booked tickets, we went there, and you’re walking up and down these aisles not knowing like the first clue of what to do. And so I think neither me or my business partner had any business background manufacturing background design background like zero. And so we were walking around like completely clueless, I think that’s the wrong start for us. But you don’t know what you don’t know when you’re getting started. So we just kept trying, I mean, we were buying every sound was costing us like hundreds of dollars to have made. We’re trying to find people here to make it locally. And then it wasn’t until we found a designer who really put together the artwork for the attorney and then was able to connect us with a manufacturer.
Kyle Bringhurst 06:35
How long did it take you until you got that introduction?
Betsy Mikesell 06:38
Gosh, I think we got the introduction about a year before we launched holy. So we spent a couple years like spinning our wheels not knowing where to go, how to start.
Kyle Bringhurst 06:46
What motivated you to keep going during that process, because I feel like a lot of people speaking for myself, too. I mean, I’ve had plenty of ideas where I’m like, Oh, that would be really cool. But then I have no idea where to start or what to do. And then I just kind of give up.
Betsy Mikesell 06:59
Yeah, I think it was because I was busy enough with doing hair. It was kind of a side thing. It wasn’t my full focus. So I didn’t have that like, I don’t know, take sure yes, give up to give up because it wasn’t really like a big deal. You know, and then it was that last year before we launched that. I feel like we really take things more seriously.
Kyle Bringhurst 07:16
Gotcha. And then did you have to go overseas to get it manufactured?
Betsy Mikesell 07:21
Yeah, it was, what was it like? Almost 10 times the price here. So and it was already expensive. You know, even having it like overseas. I think people think, Oh, if you go to China, you have garbage. Well, maybe you know, you could get garbage. But we had a certified factory, we met with her actually want to know cool thing. Our factory is owned by a woman. And she herself was a factory worker. And so it’s really cool. Because when we’d go to visit their factory had heating and air conditioning, which a lot of factories and that’s not normal. I just liked that about her and how she treated her employees. Anyway, so that was really cool. But but but we found out that our first purchase order was $250,000. But I did not change. And my business partner did not have that. So that’s when Shark Tank was actually coming to town.
Betsy Mikesell 08:10
And so I’m like, Oh my gosh, Shark Tank is here. They’re going to love my ID I know they will. And they’re going to just want to give me that $250,000. And that’s how we’re going to get started. And so my business partner, who’s like more like maybe I’m the dreamer. Yeah, she’s like, all stay here you go down, knock yourself out. So I go down there. And I auditioned. And actually, the guy was super cool that I auditioned with, and he’s like, here’s the truth of it. You have got to get selling. He’s like the sharks will eat you alive. Like, we talked about a Kickstarter. Do you think that’s a good idea? He’s like, Yeah, for sure. Do that. So long story short, we never actually got on Shark Tank. But we ended up doing the Kickstarter. So the Kickstarter, we were like, Okay, if we can get $100,000, then we know that people want the product that’s testing the market for us. But then I was going to do $75,000 On my home equity line.
Betsy Mikesell 08:56
And Angie was going to do $75,000 on her home equity line. And that’s how you’re going to fund the first order. So we funded it was so awesome. We’re getting ready to go and what you don’t realize is what all is involved. So this is where you’re, you know, I think you’d ask them questions about like, what were your failures, but we’re sure. Oh, boy. So when the product is literally on the water, they’re like, who’s your customs broker? And I’m out of town at my son’s baseball tournament and Angie calls me she’s like, we need a customs broker. She’s like, Do you know what that is? I’m like, No, I googled it and we have now Google was literally how we got through business the first few years and I do think if we had the business background we had some of his background that we wouldn’t be so clueless but we learned like the hard way on a lot of things but it sticks with you so if you make some bad choices, then do you remember how to do those again for example?
Betsy Mikesell 09:49
Yes, I was just on tracks. Angie and I, we just like shook hands like hey, does this feel fair to you to this fair to you? Yep, let’s do it. That’s like how our business partnership started. Luckily, She’s the best business partner, because can you imagine somebody else. So we did sign that contract early on, it was a terrible contract. And I remember being sick about it bawling, I couldn’t believe that this happened. There’s some background stuff that I’m not going to go into. But I remember thinking it was so much money at the time. And that’s literally pennies compared to like, if something like that happened now, we learned early on how important contracts were. We learned early on to negotiate with all of your brokers and all these people that you’re working with actually wasn’t super early on. I feel like we got overcharged for the first year or two, but those are some of the starting issues.
Kyle Bringhurst 10:38
So that takes us through the first couple years you go you get funded on Kickstarter, do all that. Now you’ve got all this product to deliver to all your customers. And I was listening to another podcast that you were on, you talked about how you didn’t really have much money for like advertising or anything like $0. So how did you go about promoting your product?
Betsy Mikesell 10:59
I was a hairdresser. So I told every one of my clients like what vacuum is the best vacuum or what washcloth to use on their face, you know, like I loved to tell my clients all the sinks and like how do I find all the hairdressers of the world because that’s where people go to solve their problems. Where like, I do more medical conditions for my clients, because they just tell me everything every six weeks when they come. So in my mind, like how do I find all the hairdressers. And that’s when I think Instagram is starting to come around and start to be more popular. We were on Facebook too. And Facebook worked really well for us in the beginning. And then it like halted. And if you didn’t want to spend money with Facebook, you didn’t get to see your audience or your audience didn’t get to see you. So I pivoted and moved over.
Betsy Mikesell 11:42
And all my time and energy went into Instagram. And so for three or four, three years, we didn’t pay a dime in advertising. I didn’t have it, I did send the product to some influencers. But I mean sending a bed that is a $250 bed was literally like taking $250 out of my pocket. Like anytime we needed money. And I pulled it from our personal accounts. And so another thing that I didn’t realize when we got our first order that you think oh my gosh, we funded on Kickstarter, I can breathe, life is good, we’ll get the stuff fulfilled. And then you don’t think about reordering. And so you have to reorder, like, in our case, about six months before then we had to pay it.
Kyle Bringhurst 12:18
That’s how long the lead time is?
Betsy Mikesell 12:21
And so we had, we had to get product in here because we were running out of it. We didn’t have the money yet. And we had zero terms with our manufacturer. So that’s really Oh, crap. And so early on in time for us our second order, my neighbor, who was a good friend, he was interested in our business. And he’s like, Yeah, I’ll give you money for the second order. But he wanted a chunk of our company, you know, and so at the time, though, and this is another thing where you’re like tradition of what, uh, you know, we gave him a lot of our company. But in that same note, he put risking, you know, like it was risk to him to give us this amount of money. So I think you can go through, like every decision that I’ve made and like, Oh, can you imagine if I could have come up with $200,000? Or if I could have come up with whatever, I own so much more of my company. And the truth is like, I could own 100% of nothing, or I could own you know, the percentage I do and have it do really well. Yeah, I think too. Like, I can’t go down that path of thinking truly, honestly, I’m happy. I’m happy with everyone who’s involved in the business. I feel everything’s fair. That’s how I agree to it. And it’s great.
Kyle Bringhurst 13:30
I think there’s a difference to that a lot of people don’t recognize there’s a difference between going back on the past to learn from it, versus going back on the past and getting stuck there. Yes. And so that is something like as entrepreneurs, if we don’t learn from our past, we’re just doing business in a stupid way. Yeah, have to go back and learn from everything. But we can’t let that inhibit us from taking action moving forward in that too. Right. Right. So I think that that is something that we all need to just keep in mind. And me especially I’m talking to myself, too, because a lot of times I’m just like, dang it, I could have had this way better or way farther ahead if I had just done this and this and this, but it’s like the old saying the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now so yeah, don’t dwell on the stuff that you could have done five years ago to get successful now just starting out with what you’re doing on the day to day process of it. Yeah, I think that that is just a big lesson that I’ve had to learn and I’m constantly learning because the dreamer in me is always upset that I’m not farther ahead than I feel like I should be right now. It’s just a matter of making sure to not let that keep me down.
Betsy Mikesell 14:40
It almost paralyzes you, when you when you get so worked up about what you didn’t do or what you should have done differently. it paralyzes you and honestly like the world moves too quickly. They’re gonna move past you and you won’t be successful. You have to get up and run.
Kyle Bringhurst 14:54
That’s one thing too recently I’ve had another idea for a business that I’m working on as well just Getting ready for that. It’s a business that I have already because I own a little cookie company, but it’s just a shift in like business principles. And one thing that I’ve noticed is that I can plan and plan and plan and plan and plan. But by the time I launch, if I just don’t take action, someone else is gonna have done it already.
Betsy Mikesell 15:17
1,000,000%. Literally, just yesterday, I was talking to one of my employees, there’s no such thing as perfect, there really isn’t. And so when you try your whole life to get perfect, you’ll never get it. So you’ll never be satisfied, and you’ll never move on. So there gets to be a point where you just have to be like, that is as good as I can get it right now. And we’re moving on.
Kyle Bringhurst 15:34
Exactly. And that is the thing that a lot of people, especially potential entrepreneurs don’t recognize, is they want their first attempt to be perfect. But you yourself said that your first setting that you created was way different than it is now. Totally, totally Same with me, like I listened to this podcast, or I go and look at my first cookies that I baked versus how they look now and I look at some of the Instagram pictures. It’s called Better Than Granny’s. Oh, yeah, I’m gonna bring you some cookies. I think they’re pretty sweet. They’re square, so they’re unique. It’s just something that you just have to get going. And then learn along the way. Because there’s so many lessons that are literally impossible to learn without failing. Yeah, on the way. And so I want to talk about that a little bit more with Beddy’s and just with you personally and stuff diving even farther into the failure. So you mentioned a few things that you struggled with, what would you say is the biggest failure mistake that you’ve made along the process?
Betsy Mikesell 16:38
That was like a hard thing for me, because I had said earlier that a lot of things, I don’t call them failures, even though a lot of people probably would, because that’s what still moved me in the direction and in the place that I’m at. So I mean, there were bad decisions, bad contracts that we made, a lot of it is more, I should have done this sooner, or I should like, necessarily, I did it wrong. But I should have done this sooner, like we worked with a trading company, and love them, and it was perfect for us. And then there got to be a point where we needed to just do all of our own sourcing and all of our own work, and have our own employees doing these things. And when you see the difference that makes in your business, you’re like, oh, I should have done that sooner. So like anything, I wouldn’t say it’s bad or failure. But yet, sometimes some people might say that, I try to look at it as a learning.
Kyle Bringhurst 17:29
Good good, good spin on it. So let’s jump into that a little bit. Because I’ve one thing that I’ve started to do with all my guests on here, to be able to provide more value for our listeners is to ask them, what they would do differently if they were to start the business again. So for you, I guess, what would be the first three things that you would do if you were to restart based on the lessons that you’ve learned?
Betsy Mikesell 17:51
Oh, it’s so funny, I looked back at some of our photography, and it was like me and my phone, and I should not be pictures, you know, especially when we want it to be for a business. So I’m like, Ah, if I would have put more money into photography early on, I think maybe that’s why people supported us, they look through pictures like ahh these sweet girls.
Kyle Bringhurst 18:09
Just pity. I think you got to take advantage of that when you’re starting your business a little bit.
Betsy Mikesell 18:14
I’m like, gosh, dang. Like, why didn’t anyone say you guys have got to put more money into your photography, and we worked from my kitchen counter. And I think we let people know that I wasn’t like ever going to be like, oh, yeah, we’ve got these offices, like love you meet you at lunch? Like no, I was like, we work out of my kitchen. So we meet. So there are some things that make you appear to be more professional, you know, and those are I never did any of those things. Because I also felt like that was fake. I wanted to be the real me. And like, I think too, sometimes people would hear us talk and they’re like, Oh, bless your heart. You know, you guys are so clueless. But at the same time again, should I have prepared myself or been more professional in my approach with I don’t know. But I think also that helps people to see truly where we were at and offer help. Like it could go either way.
Kyle Bringhurst 19:00
So what would be the first three actionable steps?
Betsy Mikesell 19:05
Sorry, I get sidetracked. Photography, I would meet with other businesses who are in a similar size to meet or early business person, because you don’t realize that they’re going through the exact same things as you and as cool as it is to look up to these companies who are big and doing away cool. Things are too far ahead of you down to like, I mean, like even email providers like who do you use? Like we use someone completely different now than we did when we started.
Betsy Mikesell 19:36
So that would be my second thing. And then my third thing is we did do this as we brought on some money because we had to grow. We couldn’t have moved on. We would have been stuck from day one.
Kyle Bringhurst 19:47
So here’s the question with that. If you had had the money in reserve, would you have still looked for investors?
Betsy Mikesell 19:53
No, no, but that’s the thing too, like neither of our families come from money at all. So there’s no me asking My parents for $1,000, let alone $100,000. And same with Angie. So this was really truly filled. Like we were so scrappy in the beginning. Advertising, I think that’s so important. Our Facebook ads they have done really well for us. And the nice thing about that is it’s scalable. So if you only put you could start with $100, and that as well and you’d be returned and put into after you know, so maybe that actually would be my third thing is, is look at on top of the organic.
Kyle Bringhurst 20:27
So one thing that you talked about that I thought was really interesting was becoming close with other businesses that are of the same size, would you recommend that people just do that for like a support or that they reach out and say, Hey, like, I want to see what you’re doing.
Betsy Mikesell 20:42
So here’s the thing, you can’t just reach out and just ask for like, tell me all your secrets, nobody’s gonna want to do that. If you go from an angle of hey, I have some problems, or this is where it’s a struggle for me, is there a time that I could meet with you and buy you lunch offer something, always offer something. And then the other thing is, too is when you meet together, you have something that you know is working well for you share it, because the more you share, and the more you provide, or that other person, the better off, you’re both going to be it builds this trust and this bond, I feel like I have such good friends with small businesses that I can call at any point. And I’ll just be like, Oh my gosh, we’re struggling with this. What are you guys doing? And they’ll tell me, and then they’ll tell you their problem. And like, oh my gosh, we just did this out, you know, like, so meeting with other businesses. But be sure you’re not just going to be Oh, I heard this is called Don’t be an askhole. Just keep asking and make sure you’re providing something in return.
Kyle Bringhurst 21:36
Yeah, definitely. And that’s one thing that I talked about a lot on here, and that a lot of my other guests have brought up too is it’s really important to have mentors or to have people around you kind of a, I guess, a band of brothers in a way. Yeah, people that are able to stick around you. But you can’t suck all the life out of them. Right? Because they’re not going to want to be around you at all.
Betsy Mikesell 21:57
Do you know what? Another hard thing is to is now I feel like we’ve grown to, you know, much bigger than we were obviously at the beginning. But I still getting a lot of people who are just starting a business or in the idea phase, asking me questions, and I want to help everyone. But there’s just not that time. And so that’s why I don’t ever want to be the jerk. That’s like Sorry, I don’t have anything for you. So I tried to like have some basic things of people that can guide them, you have to be careful asking for help know who you’re asking know their time, right? Do you know what I mean? And also stick with somebody who’s in a similar size. I can’t say that enough.
Kyle Bringhurst 22:29
That’s one thing that I’ve learned with this podcast is, when I first started, I was reaching out for just the top line, people just sending a cold emails and everything. And it worked out pretty well. Like I had zero background at all, I had no foundation of the podcast, and I got a couple of people who ran like multimillion dollar companies and they were willing to be on. But that was the exception, not the rule. Because I had no credibility established. Yeah. And so I had to build my way up. So I started small, work my way up more and more and more. And then now I feel like I’ve gotten to a point where we’ve been around like we’ve done close to 50 episodes, I’ve been able to interview a lot of the really cool people here in Utah. And so I’ve grown it here. And now I want to take it even more nationally and just keep building it more and more and more. Yeah, it didn’t start with just going to Mark Zuckerberg and saying, Hey, man, you want to be on my podcast? That would not work.
Betsy Mikesell 23:18
But it’s cool too. Because through maybe doing a podcast with certain people, then they introduce you to other people. And that’s how it works. You know, same with business. Like if you meet with somebody, and they’re like, oh my gosh, here’s who we use for emails, meet with this person. You know, that’s why this networking and helping other people and then helping you is so important.
Kyle Bringhurst 23:36
And that’s how we met because Rachel Nilsen is the introduction for us. Yeah.
Betsy Mikesell 23:40
See, she was another business that we met with we do like a monthly lunch and just get together and kind of hash out what our issues were, and how we can help each other out. So love her.
Kyle Bringhurst 23:50
There you go take that advice to heart because it’s worked for you. And it’s worked for me too. And while we do that, actually is the it provides a good transition to the next place that I want to go. So we originally got introduced last February from Rachel, it’s been that long time.
Betsy Mikesell 24:05
I am so sorry.
Kyle Bringhurst 24:07
No no, it’s been a crazy year. So wow, it was forever. I was just looking back at our email thread yesterday totally embarrassed. Because we had gotten it set. And we were going to do at the beginning of March last year, but oh COVID COVID. So we had to push everything back. Yeah, it was not the case. We gotten it set up and then lo and behold a pandemic hit. So yeah, that was fun. But it’s been a crazy year for you besides just COVID as well, right? Yes, this goes into the side of the podcast that I think is super important. And it’s about like resiliency and being able to bounce back from just extremely difficult situations that we find ourselves in. Obviously, it’s called Freedom to Fail. But there’s a lot of times that we talked on this podcast about things that we don’t fail out, but just big challenges that we have to face and still overcome. Yeah. So do you want to go into your story of just what happened this past year?
Betsy Mikesell 25:06
We had rescheduled in August to do another podcast. And I seventh, my husband, me and my twin boys were in a small plane crash. And so the hard thing was, I was actually okay, I broken seven ribs and had like something wrong with my neck and a bruised lung. Considering we were in a plane crash, that’s pretty good. But my husband was up front next to the pilot, and both my husband and the pilot suffered spinal cord injuries. My husband, the engine came in on him. And so he was pinned inside, we couldn’t get him out. He broke his tibia fibula femur into spots, his face, his teeth, broke, sat in three spots with spinal cord injury. And he was unconscious when I went to go get him. And the crazy thing is we had crashed, right where campers were, and there were three ambulances doing a training. And they actually weren’t certified to do IVs. And my husband needed an IV because he was bleeding internally from the femur breaks and all this breaks.
Betsy Mikesell 25:59
And so a camper who also happened to be there met the ambulance people and he’s like, I’ll do it, they really saved my husband. Because lifelight it took about an hour and a half to get there, we were up in the wind test. So the hard thing is, is Okay, so those are all the crappy things that happened with the plane crash, but I wasn’t able to go back to work for over two months. And my husband who works with me, he does the shipping and fulfillment side wasn’t able to go back for four months. And even after that was still in a wheelchair and can’t really do anything other than like paperwork type work. But I had been told for years to work on the business and not in the business. And it’s hard for I think founders to not be in the business because it’s like, those details are so important to you, you know, and a year prior, I hired an employee who did all design, she’s awesome.
Betsy Mikesell 26:45
And she saved my life. And then I had also few months before that hired another girl while she’d worked for me, I guess they moved her up into a position to work and do marketing right underneath me. And that sounded bad. I don’t mean like to be like my head personal finance. My go to Yes, thank you. And I didn’t realize that they can work without me. And they did. And Beddy’s was so successful for a few months. And those months were both gone. I was like, Wait, does anyone even need me anymore. But as crappy as that was that I was going through this with my family, my business. And these employees are literally taking everything on for me and really keeping Betty’s going. And it taught me too as they came back that I told everybody at work like you guys, now I know you guys can kill it. I don’t want to come back to work the same way. I wanted to come back and like have a little bit more meaning to my life. Like that sounds so stupid, and I get emotional. But I was like, we’re lucky enough to be alive. And we created a product that I just it’s it actually just launched yesterday.
Betsy Mikesell 27:49
It’s called a hug for you blanket. Because people sent so many things, flowers, dinners, even Mickey couture, which oh my gosh, how cool that they’re essentially competitor? Yeah, they’re not because they’re different. But I am like they sent us blankets for every single person, you know, like in our families, not just the crash. And I’m like, Oh my gosh, I want beddings to have a product that if somebody goes through something hard, we can provide that product for you to send to your loved one that you can’t be there. You know, anyways, so that came about, I also got to the point where I’m like, we are financially stable enough that we can also like, donate. And so we started donating to make a wish because I felt like that just like felt right. You know? So do you think some good things have come out of this crappy crappy time? Yeah. And I also learned a lot about how the business was running, and that I wanted to watch everything and make sure everything was going well, but they can do that on their own, you know, so it’s cool. It did give me some freedom.
Kyle Bringhurst 28:44
So first off, that is crazy. And I’m sorry that that happened. But I’m glad to see that things are getting a little bit better with you guys. Yeah. How is your husband doing now?
Betsy Mikesell 28:54
So he actually is out of his wheelchair every day. It’s truly a miracle when he was life flighted in there. Like we haven’t seen someone the sick. One of the doctors is like haven’t seen someone that’s sick ever. You know, he was in bad shape. They couldn’t even do some of the surgeries because he’s he ended up having 10 blood transfusions. So he was not doing very well. But he’s able to walk not like the normal walk, you know, mentally like I mean, he had a traumatic brain injury. He’s doing better than me, actually, mentally. I’m probably the head case now. And then like, really, it’s going well.
Kyle Bringhurst 29:26
I mean, you set up a miracle. Yeah, you can get into a plane crash and literally be able to walk away. Yeah, after having a spinal injuries and things that will leave a lot of people paralyzed. Yeah, the progress that you guys have been able to make is it’s inspiring. It’s really cool to see how you guys. Thank you. Thank you. One thing I want to touch on is how you mentioned with your business in that time, you had to take a step away for a couple months and you weren’t able to do much work at all. You said that you had those people that you had hired, had you already trained them yes yet for all the time.
Betsy Mikesell 30:00
And so really they got to just shine. It wasn’t that’s happening question every two seconds. It was really like we had trained everybody they knew what to do. And they did it. And I didn’t have to like question anything. And there were some decisions that were made that I should have given the okay on, and they did it and they killed it.
Kyle Bringhurst 30:17
How does that make you feel as a business owner?
Betsy Mikesell 30:19
So proud. And also, like, we just say, it’s like when your kids don’t need you anymore? No, it’s awesome.
Kyle Bringhurst 30:27
Now, you said that, along with that your role, you knew that your role in the business was going to have to change and that you weren’t going to be able to go back to be hanging is in the details with where before? Yeah. What does that mean? Like, what is your role consists of now and what has changed?
Betsy Mikesell 30:45
There are still days and I’m in all the details. But there are also days that I know that I can just let them take care of things. And I can go meet with other people, I can meet with other businesses, I can meet with other people in marketing, and so that I feel like I’m able to do a little bit more with that. And still, quite honestly, I feel like seven months later, we’re still a doctor’s appointments. And we’re still doing a lot of things personally, that are from the effects of the plane crash.
Kyle Bringhurst 31:08
That is the wild ride. Yeah, it is crazy to see all the stuff that you guys have gone through from the beginning of the business, and then even just the past year. Yeah. And being able to see the structure that you had in place as well is extremely important. Because I think that as entrepreneurs, you said earlier that we really like to be in the details. And we really like to make sure that everything goes extremely well. And it is painful to take that step back. And to trust somebody I know is you don’t feel like they’re going to see your baby like you do. And you’re so doubtful that they’re going to be able to live up to the expectations that you have. But it’s the biggest accomplishment when you recognize that oh, wait, people actually can do this.
Kyle Bringhurst 31:53
Yeah, yeah, with my window cleaning company, I have an assistant and she, I heard her last fall. And I just didn’t want to give any control or anything. But my goal with my window cleaning company is to make it self sustaining to the point where I only have to work five to 10 hours a week. And that’s my goal to have it by the end of this year. So I knew that if I wanted to get to that point, you’d have to add the trust, and I had to step back. And that was hard. But she has been just incredible. And just kill that every single day at what she does. Because I gave her that confidence and the belief that I knew that she was going to be able to do it. Yeah. And I think that as business owners, or even as employees, when we empower somebody to do it 1,000,000%
Betsy Mikesell 32:36
They just need a plane crash to help. Hey, you know what, another crazy thing and this is kind of a side note, you know, I like those. But my husband Monday through Thursday, had taught his employee how to do everything he does. And nobody else knew even his business partner didn’t know how to do things he was doing. And Friday, we were in the plane crash, like what are the odds?
Kyle Bringhurst 32:43
Oh, my goodness, I think that that’s just so important, because I think all the time about so I served a mission. I’m LDS and my mission president, he in my exit interview, he was a really, really successful businessman. And he’s like, find a way where you are making money when you are sleeping. And at first I was like, no, that sounds just selfish and greedy. It sounds like a weird way to do it. But in reality, I look back at it. And what he was telling me to do is find a way to create these systems in place that whatever you make, you can still be successful, even if worst case scenario costly. Because if you’re a doctor and something happens, then you’re not going to be able to work.
Kyle Bringhurst 33:34
If you’re a lawyer, and you have something that happens, you’re not going to be able to work and make that money. But if you have the systems in place, and those professions are incredible, and we need them, and this is not saying everyone should be an entrepreneur, but you have to regardless of what you’re doing, find those systems so that you can be ready to take a step back. Because sometimes, like in your case, you don’t have a choice, you just have to take a step back. And it’s a testament to you that you were able to hire those people and get them ready. So that when that unfortunate situation happened, they were able to step up.
Betsy Mikesell 34:09
Can I tell you what also like to take credit because I’m like, oh, I need to tell the truth on this. So my employee that I hired a year ago that literally saved me, actually, so listen to yourself. Anyways, I was meeting with another guy who was kind of our advisor, you know, and he was in a bigger, much bigger company, but happened just want to give us your help give us some advice, and he’s the one that’s like, you’re gonna need a person doing this. And he’s like, he actually referred us to her and I was kind of offended. I’m like, Do you really think I can do this myself, you know? And then so it was him that really pushed us to hire her. And then she saved me like had she not been here for over a year knowing how everything goes and how to take control over everything that I did. So it wasn’t Yeah, to hire. I mean, I did get some advice.
Kyle Bringhurst 34:55
Well that’s the thing that it goes back to what you were saying earlier too, is just find mentors and people around round you who know more than you do. Yeah. Because you don’t know what you don’t know.
Betsy Mikesell 35:02
They know what you’re going to that phase you’re going to be in. He’s like, he literally said in a year, you’re going to be at this point. And it was like to the day, I’m like, How did you know we were going to be here? Like crazy predicted it, you know. And it’s just like when you’ve gone through it several times, you know what to expect.
Kyle Bringhurst 35:19
So what is the future look like for Beddy’s I just want to,
Betsy Mikesell 35:22
I want to own the bedding industry. Now that sounds too crazy. But I feel like bedding has always been the same for hundreds of years. It’s never changed. And so I feel like we have really disrupted the bedding industry. And I want everyone to know what that is, is and I want to be the best zippered bedding company that there is.
Kyle Bringhurst 35:40
Are there other competitors now that had a couple of knockoffs, they’re not not enough to be able to establish yourself as the leaders in that industry? Yeah. Let’s talk about that, actually. Because while I’m thinking about it, you basically created a whole brand new industry that didn’t exist before. What did that entail? Because I see it on Shark Tank all the time, I’m watching it. And they’re always like, this is a product that you have to educate your consumers, because they don’t know it’s about.
Betsy Mikesell 36:07
Okay, that’s what I spent that first three years doing it, like I can’t spend money on Google ads, nobody’s searching for bedding I had to create. That’s why I had to work with the hairdresser’s or like influencers, to tell my story to tell the audiences that zippered bedding exists. And then once enough people use it for bedding exists, then I can pay these, you know, ads, or whatever. Yeah.
Kyle Bringhurst 36:29
So when I started, and when you started reaching out to them, did you just send them like free samples and say, Hey, I’d love it. If you post about this.
Betsy Mikesell 36:38
Yeah, I tried to, like, tell my expectations and let them know about the product. And the cool thing is there were enough influencers, who recognized we were a small business, and were willing to post in exchange for product, like, not everyone will do that. And we got lucky. And I think to it helped that I had a relationship with these people, you know, and anyway, so I think that that helped us cool in the beginning.
Kyle Bringhurst 36:59
Yeah. And that’s something I just wanted to touch on. Because with businesses, the hardest thing is making that first dollar. And so you have to find ways to get in front of people without spending all of your money to get that money. So yeah, that’s really cool. That’s something that I’m trying to do a lot better on. I’ve never been the social media guy. I’ve never been the kind of person who does traditional advertising. I’m just the guy who hits the pavement and goes and knocks doors and tries to drum up business that way, which is great. But that’s not a sustainable way to do business. Because again, if something were to happen to me, then where does the business stand if I can’t do that. So that’s something that I’ve been trying to learn and improve on a lot with my businesses lately. So I think that’s great advice. So to wind down, I’ve got a few of my favorite questions. I call it my lightning round. So the first one is, what is your biggest fear?
Betsy Mikesell 37:48
Not being able to provide for my family and my employees, I say, my family, but my employees are family to me, and they want to be able to like there’s a lot of pressure. And I think that’s the hardest thing is I don’t ever want to let anyone down.
Kyle Bringhurst 38:00
I can relate to that so much like on a spiritual level. It’s insane. Yeah, I am a big people pleaser. And I just want to make sure that everyone knows that they can count on me with all that. The next one is it’s called Freedom to Fail. So what is your personal definition of failure?
Betsy Mikesell 38:16
Sitting there with a bad decision, rather than continuing to move on? You know, I talked earlier, like when we look back, and we were like, Oh, why did I do that? It almost paralyzes you that to me, it’s failure. But when you get up and you continue and move on, that’s not failure. And I think that’s why maybe I have this like delusional thoughts of myself. But I’m like, I don’t feel like we fail because we kept up and kept going.
Kyle Bringhurst 38:38
Yeah. So on the flip side of that, what would you say is your personal definition of success?
Betsy Mikesell 38:43
Financially, being able to pay for our needs, and to know that I’ve treated everyone fairly.
Kyle Bringhurst 38:48
I love that. That’s a good one. The next one is what is one habit that you have that helps you be successful every day?
Betsy Mikesell 38:55
Some people call this anxiety that I wake up early every morning, and I’m able to get so much done. So I feel like it’s getting up early. I exercise every day. And I know that maybe doesn’t work for everybody, but it’s what clears my mind. Just having that structure. So getting up exercising, showering, getting ready and like I’m ready for the day, every single day whether I see people or not, but I think it’s just like, I don’t give myself the option to not do those things. I do crash like a senior citizen. I swear to god damn it. Yeah, it’s so true. And especially after the plane crash my husband like you know, did six o’clock he’s in bed with the heating pad on his back. But yeah, so I did crash early. But I noticed that when I stay up at night, all I do is like watch TV and eat junk food. So I’m like, I’m better off just going to sleep and then starting fresh early in the morning.
Kyle Bringhurst 39:39
Cool, I like that. So next one is what is your favorite book?
Betsy Mikesell 39:43
Oh my gosh. Okay, so it’s not even an actual reading book because it’s Brene Brown, but she has a lot of them…
Kyle Bringhurst 39:50
Is it The Power of Vulnerability? Yes. I love that and it’s only on Audible. It is.
Betsy Mikesell 39:54
The reason why is because I feel like she’s talking to me even though she’s talking to an audience, but it teaches you And people ask me what my favorite business book is. And I’m like this, and so crazy, but it’s like she teaches you enough about yourself and about other people that you can understand them better. Like you understand why people do something, it’s not because they’re a jerk, because they’re maybe insecure about something or they’re not. I’ve reread it, I’ve listened to it a million times, because it reminds me to give people more grace, you know, with things and try to understand them better. So I feel like it makes me a better CEO, even is crazy. That sounds but it like makes me better human to other people.
Kyle Bringhurst 40:33
That one is so good. Exactly what you’re talking Yeah, the only book in my life that I have gifted as an audio book, then I’ve done that to multiple people, because it’s just so good. Yeah. So that is two recommendations from both of us go check it out.
Betsy Mikesell 40:51
Right. There was even a point in I don’t think it was in this book. It might have been dare to lead. She talked about do you think everyone’s trying their hardest? Do you think they’re trying their hardest? You think everyone is? No? Okay. So that’s what she said. She’s like, No, absolutely not. And the therapist is like, well, if you don’t change your thinking, you’re gonna have a rough life. And she goes home and she’s ticked, I’m giving you the very best version. She goes home, and she goes out to dinner with her friend, you know, as couples. And so she goes her friend, she’s like, do you think everyone’s trying their hardest doing their best? And her friends like? Absolutely not. And she’s like, Thank you for saying that. And the friends like, for example, like women who say they can only breastfeed for six weeks, they’re not trying their hardest, and Brene like steps back. And she’s like, holy crap. I only nurse for six weeks. And that was my hardest. For me. It was a really good mind reset, because then I’m like, it’s true. Like, what’s hard for me is not hard for maybe you.
Kyle Bringhurst 41:41
Placing your personal expectations on someone else.
Betsy Mikesell 41:43
Exactly. So rather than being frustrated that somebody’s best isn’t your best look at what their best is. And you’re not good at that. You know, that’s why it’s so cool to have so many different personalities and strengths in a business.
Kyle Bringhurst 41:56
Wow. Okay, cool. I got a lot to think about. Yeah, yeah. And then the last one is, what is one piece of advice that you would give to our listeners who either are on the verge of starting a business or who have started one, but they aren’t seeing the success that they would have envisioned at this point?
Betsy Mikesell 42:14
Okay, so this is the hard one. And this kind of sounds probably harsh a little bit when I say this, but sometimes I think you surround yourself with people who are yesterday, they’re like, oh, my gosh, this is such a good idea. Yes, you should do this. But it’s all people who don’t want to let you down. They don’t want to say anything negative to you worth, I think sometimes you need to hear the negative and the constructive criticism, because they may all be saying it’s a great idea, but they might not ever buy your product, you know, and so you have to be real with things. And so I was gonna say, Yes, keep pushing, keep going. But there are such thing as bad ideas. Yeah, maybe it’s a great idea. And it needs a tweak. So I think surrounding yourself with people who will give you honest, constructive criticism.
Kyle Bringhurst 42:54
So how would you know if it’s a bad idea?
Betsy Mikesell 42:58
Ask a lot of people. Get your friends and family. Because we’ll ask our audience on Instagram, like, What colors do you want to see? And we had people over and over and over again, say, camo, and so we made camo bet. And guess what it did not sell. So we thought we’re even asking our buyers, but everyone wants to say something. It’s like, you have to wait and ask your buyers. What not what followers on Instagram or family and friends, we’re going to tell you oh my gosh, that’s such I’m so proud of you. This is so great. Like, oh, get someone else to come in there and be like, That’s cool. But you need to do this, or it needs to be tweaked here. Yeah.
Kyle Bringhurst 43:28
And just to add to that, to my thought on it is it’s kind of like the whole Kickstarter, like you need to validate your product. With people putting in their money, you have to do pre sales, if you can, you have to do whatever it is, even if it for example, with my cookie business, I still haven’t officially had a location. So I haven’t had anything like that. But I’ve been selling my cookies off and on sporadically for a few months getting feedback from them about flavors about just what people like and don’t like. Because if no one’s gonna pay me for it, even at a minimum price when I was selling it for a lot cheaper. Why am I going to expect them to pay a premium and just expect that they’re going to like all the products that you have to test with people’s dollars. If you have like something that you can sample or sell in smaller portions, do that go to a mall, go to wherever it is that you can find a lot of people and then just ask them if they’re interested and to ship it with their wallet.
Betsy Mikesell 44:24
Totally. I do say that all the time about Kickstarter for us is like I couldn’t spend $250,000 I’m glad that I couldn’t because we had to do Kickstarter, we had to see if it’s a product that people want it. Of course I wanted it and I had my friends and several clients who said they wanted it but when it comes down to it, who’s gonna buy it?
Kyle Bringhurst 44:44
For you listeners, take all this all these lessons into account? This has been awesome. I’ve really enjoyed that.
Betsy Mikesell 44:49
Thank you so much, of course.
Kyle Bringhurst 44:51
So where can our listeners find out more about you and about that ease and everything?
Betsy Mikesell 44:55
Okay, so it’s beddys.com. @beddys is on Instagram and then @betsymikesell on Instagram.
Kyle Bringhurst 45:05 Perfect thank you again.