Dive into this episode as Ryan Duey takes us through the exhilarating story of Plunge – from a cold concept to a hot startup. Learn how Ryan's company is making waves with their revolutionary cold plunge pools, and how they turned a simple idea into a thriving business.
Key Topics Covered:
- The Birth of Plunge: Discover the origins of Plunge and how Ryan's personal experiences shaped the company's vision.
- Viral Growth: Hear about the viral marketing strategies that catapulted Plunge into the spotlight and how they leveraged social media to build a brand.
- Overcoming Challenges: Ryan opens up about the hurdles they faced in production and team dynamics, and how overcoming these challenges was crucial for growth.
- Strategic Marketing: Learn about the influencer and relationship marketing that helped Plunge reach new heights.
- Innovation and Future Plans: Get a sneak peek into the future of Plunge, with insights into upcoming product innovations and market expansion strategies.
About Ryan Duey:
Ryan Duey is the visionary founder of Plunge, a company that specializes in cold plunge pools designed for optimal health and recovery. With a passion for wellness and a knack for entrepreneurship, Ryan is leading the charge in backyard wellness innovations.
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- Website: https://plunge.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theplunge
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🎙️ About the Channel:Our channel is dedicated to uncovering the stories of entrepreneurs who are changing the game. From tech innovators to wellness pioneers, we bring you the insights and behind-the-scenes looks at the journeys of today's top founders.
Andy: [00:00:00] I see a ton of copycats, man. There's a bunch of copycats, uh, companies coming out and doing that stuff. And like it's tough for any founder, right? It's like, Oh shoot, this person's building something exactly like this coming in the market. How do you deal with that?
Ryan: Of course we see what's going on in the marketplace and I think competition, there's a level of like, how do you make competition drive us forward and see what the public want?
Ryan: That's a all boats rise type situation. Outside of that, we stay laser focused into what we think, what we want to create. It wasn't
Andy: necessarily this idea of. SpaceX or like some crazy, like I'm going to build a rocket company. It was like, no, I have this need myself. I'm not happy with the current solutions.
Andy: And I'm just going to
Ryan: build this thing for me. If you are the consumer of the product, you can actually authentically know if this product is correct or be honest. You're, you know, you, you are the consumer. You can solve the problem and understand where the pain points are. They live
Andy: this. It's one of the best quotes that someone told me that I, like, it's like, love me or hate me.
Andy: There's no money in
Ryan: the middle.
Andy: Auburn. Well, man, I want to ask you, like, it's [00:01:00] funny. I asked some friends, I was like, Hey, what should I ask Ryan from cold plunge? And they're like, we want to know how he cold plunges. All right. Like what's his routine doing the cold plunge, man. So I want to, first off, let's start with that.
Andy: Tell us what you do as the, as the cold plunge came.
Ryan: So it's, it's surprising everyone brought, well, at least what it comes to is everyone's like, Oh, your tub's at 39 and you're plunging 10 minutes a day. I'm like, my plunge is at 47 and I'm plunging two to three minutes a day. It's kind of my like consistent protocol.
Ryan: It's I'm in the morning. That's the more time that goes by that I don't do it. There's better odds that I will not end up getting in. I still struggle every day to walk out there and get in the cold, but I do it every single morning. And then weekends, I'll usually, that's when I'm incorporating sauna work with the plunge and I do it a little differently there.
Ryan: But, uh, my, my cold two to three minutes, 47. Yeah. You know, and then I'll, I'll, I'll take it, [00:02:00] I'll turn it up a notch, like once, uh, you know, maybe once a month I'll go much longer and I'll just do like a longer session. Yeah. And
Andy: like, you've probably tried a bunch of things. Have you just found that like, this is, this is, this is what works for you?
Andy: Like, is that, you know, you, you probably tried 10 minutes, you tried at 39 degrees. You're just like, yo, I'm happy with. 47 and what this does.
Ryan: Yeah. The 47 temp takes my breath away every time. It's still challenging to the, I know why it works. Cause I still go out and I'm like, I don't want to do this. It's not like a treat sometimes at like 55, that's almost, it's like, I don't want to say too easy for me, but it's just like 47 still like going through the narrative, got to beat that.
Ryan: And then two to three minutes is the time that I've found is just like for my system. Is like optimal time. Yeah, it is. I go in, I go through the process. I know what, like, it's going to take about a minute. Of being pretty a stressor in there and then I'll [00:03:00] feel the regulation of my system for another and I get that for about a minute and then I push through another 30 seconds where I'm just like really relaxed in there.
Ryan: And then for me, it's like I'm go, go, go. It's season of my life right now. So it's like 2 to 3 minutes. I know my process. I'm out. Boom. Here we go. Let's get the day going.
Andy: Then you're ready to go. You're really good. Are you working out after or before? Cause you look like you're in good shape. So I know you're working out, but like after midday, like what's that?
Andy: What's that look like
Ryan: for you? I tend to work out before and that's, that's more just due to, that's less on. What's optimal for the body and more just my schedule. Yeah. I, I have a trainer that's here kind of wakes me up at the house. And so, which is great. So I get out and I work out first thing and then I go plunge and then I get my day going.
Ryan: So that's more, and it's less that it's more of shit. I don't want to get out of like, it's, it's a lot easier to [00:04:00] work out. So yeah,
Andy: for sure. That's awesome, man. Alright, and I gotta ask you, who would be like the dream person that you would want in a plunge, dead or alive? Like, that you'd want them posting a picture of them using a plunge, dead or
Ryan: We've done the alive convo, so obviously we're always thinking through that, but uh, the dead. Yeah, yeah,
Andy: of course. Of course, marketer at the death. Like who, who, who would you want in
Ryan: there? So many names pop up, but I was like, I don't even know if I have a name, but I'd almost think of someone that like, was maybe like an asshole to humanity.
Ryan: And then having them plunge and see if like there was a shift in their mental state. Like the worst person in the world. Yeah. I don't know about the worst. Sometimes there's just a sociopath that cold's not going to do anything, but someone that's like, uh, like here's an archetype where he just, he just passed away yesterday.
Ryan: Not, this isn't our goldmine, but Bob Knight, you know, the guy was a hardcore, so intense, you know, some people loved him, [00:05:00] a lot of people disliked him, but you know, ultimately a lot of people would probably call him an asshole. Yeah, yeah. What would Cole Plungine do in his life? You know, him coming out, like guarantee there'd be a calmer, more regulated state, you know, and him incorporating that and keeping that edge on him still, like, cause that was his fire and that's what made him like great and succeed.
Ryan: Yeah. Someone in that archetype, like that would be, and even at a bigger scale. So I don't know who that is in my head right now, but, um, I always love seeing that. Someone like that. Yeah. Yeah.
Andy: Yeah. Yeah. I love it, man. Okay, Bob Knight. Yeah.
Ryan: Bob, Bob Knight's not like the, if my team hears that there'd be like Bob Knight's you're like gold mine.
Ryan: I'm like, no, it's not Bob Knight. It's the Bob Knight archetype.
Andy: It's the archetype. Okay. Let's say the archetype of Bob Knight, the archetype of Bob Knight. Who is the biggest
Ryan: asshole in the Bob Knight archetype? Like that's who I would go after and like get a call and then see their, you know, shift in life.
Ryan: That would be the huge win. Yeah.
Andy: And I mean, it [00:06:00] shifted your life, right? Like you, I was reading you. You had like a crazy, like almost near death experience. What in Thailand you had a motorcycle accident, right? And you, and you had some, like, that was kind of your inflection point where you're like, Hey, I want to do something in this like health world.
Andy: And then eventually you, you got to doing cold plunge. Right. And like, for you, how did it shift to you? Right. Like, I want to talk to you about that. Like, what have you internally recognized? By doing it, right? And I'm sure that's why you built the company. You're like, holy shit, like this changed me. Now I can change others.
Andy: But what was that moment like when you realized this
Ryan: was something. I think you started the accident was like kind of the precursor to a lot that happened from transitioning. Yeah. You know, just my own personal journey, entrepreneurship, capital floats, I started before that. And then, you know, getting cold, I had gone through a bout of sickness.
Ryan: Like I was, I got like six colds in six months, which thought I was healthy, was [00:07:00] like, why am I getting sick? So really that's when my kind of health mentor was like, let's bring some breath work and cold in your life. Let's see what that does for you. And within a couple months, I wasn't getting sick anymore.
Ryan: So I was like, okay, cool. This is. Super impactful and then I just loved like whether it's like, you know chasing dopamine to a degree I look like there was nothing that beat getting cold And coming out in that feeling that was undeniable to me, I was like, I couldn't articulate what was happening, but it was, you know, all of us that get cold.
Ryan: We know what that feeling is. You come out and you're like, I feel electric. Like this is, I don't know how to, this is incredible. Um, and so that just became, you know, if I could do something that makes me feel that good, like I'm going to keep doing that. And so that was the, that was really the start of it.
Ryan: It didn't come, I didn't get into cold at all. Yeah. With any idea of like, this will be a business. It was, it was the, it was more super exploratory, which has always been kind of everything I've started. It starts at a spot of, [00:08:00] I love this. And I'm just doing this all the time. And then, you know, doors start to open where it's like, you know, and this one was a door that was a very interesting one because, you know, cold plunge has obviously grown substantially, like the concept of cold plunging over the last three years before it was like you said, it was very like niche, like.
Ryan: The concept of getting in cold water. A lot of people didn't even know that was a thing. Like most thought it was still like a very dangerous thing. Like, Oh, you're going to get hypothermia. You're going to get, it's not good for you. Let alone like turning it into a mass product market. Like, you know, and so that was, that's where it was at.
Ryan: And we just felt that at the time launching the company, it was, it was out of a need of COVID our business, Mike and I. Both on float float centers, those closed down and we just saw it as a fit for us. Like, man, there's no product that we would put into our house at a price point where we were at personally, that we could really afford.
Ryan: Um, everything was about 10, 000 and higher. And so we were like, design was really important. We didn't want [00:09:00] the chest freezer. Mike had a chest freezer. Sitting in his garage, kind of like, you know, his wife's not wanting this out in the public. Can we have a unit that's like beautiful and like sitting there and also what we consider like, uh, like reasonable in our life of what we could afford.
Ryan: And so that's where we landed on the, on the product and kind of, I think, set the tone in the marketplace of actually getting a 5, 000 cold plunge on the marketplace.
Andy: The common thread that I see between a lot of them is. The best products they build that become pretty successful for them. They've tried a lot of things, you know, they want things they ended up coming back to building what they wanted to use themselves, right.
Andy: And building for themselves. And it wasn't necessarily this, you know, idea of SpaceX or like some crazy, like I'm going to build a rocket company. It was like, no, I have this need myself. I'm not happy with the current solutions and I'm just going to build this thing for me and then, you know, it's interesting because when you look at that, you're probably [00:10:00] like, wow, well, if I build for me, then there's probably 10 other, 10 million other people just like me that probably are thinking the same thing, right?
Andy: And so it's just seeing this common thing. And I see that with you too, right? Of like. Holy shit. You
Ryan: basically built it for yourself. That was it. I mean, we like didn't know the market size. Like we aren't running any sort of like, you know, TAM analysis of the cold plunge space or anything. It was, it was, can we sell 20 of these?
Ryan: And we luckily had some client base that we thought were like minded people from our float centers. So we had those emails and that was our first customers. That was who we marketed to, but yeah, you're totally right. It's like, as if you are the consumer of the product, you can, you, you can actually authentically know if this product is correct or be honest to like, you're, you know, you, you are the consumer, you can solve the problem and understand where the, where the pain points are, like, is this a price that I would be willing to pay for?
Ryan: And then I think the consumer understands that authenticity, I think. [00:11:00] That has been a key thing for, you know, Mike and I very intentionally put ourselves in front of this. As a face of this company, because we live this life, like this is not a, we didn't catch a trend, you know, it wasn't a trend when we started, like, if you look at where this started, like, it was kind of a wasteland.
Ryan: I mean, coalplunge. com went to this random sauna company. There was no one even using the term coal plunge back three years ago. It was a 10 X difference. The cold plunge into like the vernacular. And we were like in our network, people only use the term cold plunge in this very niche, you know, kind of high performance people like, you know, looking to push the edge.
Ryan: Like that's how it was termed. So we, we went in on that with the name of the company, obviously. But, you know, it was more of just like, we love this be cool. If two more people started doing this, it's changed our lives. Maybe it's going to change a few more. Wow.
Andy: And that's crazy, right? Like you start and you just use that email list.
Andy: It was probably what you had, like a hundred clients from your past. Uh, like, [00:12:00] you know, uh, float. Places, we had a couple hundred,
Ryan: those lists were probably in the thousands because those were more of like, uh, that was a service based business. So they were coming in to just book a float, you know, as opposed to like a So we have, yeah.
Ryan: I mean, I think we sold 15 through that list and they were all Northern California based, so we could put it in the back of his van, drive it ourselves. We got to shake their hands and set it up for them. So we really like, we knew our first customers, like they met us. We drove to their house, whether it's in San Francisco or Sacramento and, you know, connected with them and the product, like it didn't, it wasn't, we built this in the garage, you know, it wasn't developed in some far lab with an engineering team.
Ryan: So there, to be frank, like there were some issues early on and, but by being front and center with every customer and knowing like, Hey, we're going to get this right. Like, no matter what you take a jump with us, like you're gonna, you're going to come out [00:13:00] good. I promise you that. And so we were able to kind of go by doing that.
Ryan: We built a lot of trust with our customers. So we had a, we had a little runway into the issues that we faced early on, whether, you know, we're learning shipping. Our first three units didn't know that the pump connection was breaking in a van. It was fine, but when it was going on a FedEx truck, it broke every single time.
Ryan: So we had like half of our first pumps. 10 that were on FedEx that broke. And so that's a really shitty experience where the customer shows up and the pump's broken. So, you know, we solved that, we took care of all that. So by being, you know, we took care of the early adopters, we take care of all everyone, but that was, that was a big win for us to be front and center and knowing.
Ryan: Who was getting the plunge. So you sold these 15
Andy: plunges and you're like, shit, like things are breaking as anything breaks with releasing something initially. Right. And you know, early stuff, I do software, so shit breaks all the time, every day. You know, same thing. Hardware, it's [00:14:00] even harder. I actually studied, uh, hardware engineering, electrical hardware engineering.
Andy: And so, uh, Kudos because people have no idea, no idea how hard hardware is. And like, we're not talking hardware for you. That's like a small little, you know, thing. We're talking like a massive unit with like a lot of electronics involved and water and water and water and electronics just in general, as is anyone here, if you haven't learned, they do not mix well for me, the product looks amazing.
Andy: And I was getting on, I was like, I want to, from you, I want to learn, like the real thing you're dealing with here is like logistical, like, that's what it seems like a big problem for you was. And so going back to my question, you, you did 15 units and then you were like, okay, at that point where you're like, this is a thing and now we have to figure out how to ship these to people across the country.
Andy: Like, what was your strategy there? How did you, [00:15:00] where did you go from there? Right. And we're talking through the cold start problem. Really? You're like, okay. Yeah, I did this. Like, what did it look like after those 15? Yeah. So it,
Ryan: you use the term strategy. It was more solving the next problem in place. The good part about this whole thing is there was a, we had a product market fit early on, so it's like, there was no like proving out if people want this, that's what we had to keep up with.
Ryan: So, and what really snowballed that was we, we sold, we sold our 15 kind of in network. You know, through email campaigns of emails that we already had hand delivered those in the van. So we, we, we learned firsthand, but the big choice we made, I was, I was talking about the term ice bath, cold plunge. So the company has always been called plunge.
Ryan: It's been a little convenient for the world because we had the cold plunge. com was our domain name. And, but we bought that for 10 bucks. Then we made a choice super early that that is going to be the industry term. This will [00:16:00] be the, I cold plunge. I'm going to go cold plunge. Like that is when it's the verb.
Ryan: That's how we speak about it. And we're going all in and Google trends was not showing that it was a 10 X difference of ice bath to cold plunge. And so we bought the cold plunge. com. Well, what happened was that accelerated super quick. And we first page ranked on Google within four weeks, a month, we were like with no ad spend, nothing like no blogs we were putting out.
Ryan: It was just on the search term. Like I said, cold plunge. com was owned by a sonic company that wasn't doing anything with it. There was no one really using the internet with that terminology outside of like chat, you know, forums or things like that. There was no websites. And so that was our win. And so from there, the website looked good enough, you know, something we created how to shopify our Shopify store.
Ryan: It's always good enough. So then at that point, people were calling us. I mean, we were in the garage getting phone calls from all over the country [00:17:00] at this point of, Hey, I'm, I've been looking for, you know, last year, I didn't even know you guys existed thinking we were way bigger than we were. And so that's when we started selling and then the logistics one, this one was, I remember our first unit was, so I remember Mike was in his sauna at his house, Aubrey Marcus posts on online saying in his chest freezer, showing him plunging in his chest freezer.
Ryan: Mike just makes a comment. Hey, from the plunge account. Hey, if you're, uh, you ever need an upgrade, let us know. We'd love to upgrade you. And he just responds immediately. Like, are you guys serious? Like it goes into the DMS and we're like, yeah, we, we got you. And he's like, cool. Uh, come out, send one out and come out.
Ryan: And we're like, okay. Okay. We never shipped a unit at this point. And so it's comical. Like, you know, Mike and I service brick and mortar businesses, totally different membership base. You know, you're, you got your brick and mortar. Yeah. Nothing in the logistics, nothing in we're like, Oh shit, we need to ship.
Ryan: How do you ship a coal plunge? I don't, I don't [00:18:00] know. Like, Oh, this pallets custom, right? I was going into like these random places in Sacramento, chasing down people that like. I mean, businesses that aren't on the internet, you got to find it's like referral base and you show up to these worlds and they just build these, like, we had a very specific pallet, like, cool.
Ryan: I need, I need a pallet. Can I buy one that people are like, no, you can't just buy one pallet. Like I was like, I need one pallet, like ship that over. And then it's like a box. Like, how do you, how do we box this up? How do we protect this thing? And so literally it was like, we didn't even know how dimensions worked on that first one.
Ryan: Like we bought the, the box was the right size. But it was literally, how it did on it was the wrong, we used the wrong, we ordered the wrong terminology and so it showed up differently. Ultimately, we got it out there. It arrives at his house intact, thankfully, because like I said, we had that issue on our next few units.
Ryan: Yeah. And his arrived, we met Aubrey, hung out with him for the, you know, that afternoon, got him set up. And that was kind of the start of the process [00:19:00] where it was, that became the playbook of how do we go to people of influence. That we felt aligned with and we felt comfortable, like if they talked about our product, they're a good spokesperson.
Ryan: And then we just built a relationship. And then it was asking them like, Hey, if there's anyone else you would ever want that you think would love this, like, let us know, we'd happy to connect with them. So then it turned into kind of like a friend network. Like we were getting, you know, at that point, then we end up at Andrew Huberman's house or Tony Hawks or these things that kind of happened, like kind of friends of friends of friends.
Ryan: And really like nurtured those relationships were, you know, we did these like hand delivery tours. That was the kind of the next step. Once that started to happen, once the network was building, we, we would rent the U Haul and we would go put four units in the back of a U Haul and drive from Sacramento to LA and show up at, you know, Nyjah Houston's house or, Like I said, Tony Hawk or, uh, Ridge Roll or all these places.
Ryan: And we would be there and Rhonda Patrick and be there [00:20:00] and setting these units up at their house. And they would bring us in. We, you know, number of them still great friends with and, um, kind of built our community very early, early on there from a place of we entered that, which I think was a huge win for us early on of more of like service.
Ryan: Like we didn't have any contracts with these people of like you have to do this for the unit. It was literally like, thank you. You've provided a ton of our life. All we ask is that you use it. And if you love it, I don't even care if you just tell your wife, just Tell someone that you love it. And then it turned in, you know, then we got like rich role We you know his next episode he does like a five minute spiel on Plunge and how much he loves the unit and appreciates us and so you get these kind of Andrew Huber memorizing protocol on the shiver and he gives us the protocol to house on our site and shouts us out on his Podcast go to plunge that you know go to the So you get these 10 X opportunities and it was really, we entered [00:21:00] those very like, Hey, we're not asking.
Ryan: Yeah. There's like, you know, what comes to this, we're, we're, our part's done, whatever it was. No expectation. It was free. Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, wow. Come a little more sophisticated. We have. We do still a lot of seeding, but that's much more like now there's some contracts and different communities, but those early ones, the big, just relationship building, like, Hey, we're here.
Ryan: Thank you for done. So that was like, those were our big early, like probably six to nine month wins into the company. Wow,
Andy: dude. So it sounds like you, you almost like. You just got in with like the elite, like you were kind of like this underground company initially that was like just people word of mouth, man.
Andy: Just like in, uh, with the elite folk, you know, like Tony Hawk. I mean, dude, I grew up watching like, it's insane. Imagine you send like all these people. And they're just chatting and I got this thing and like maybe posting pictures and people I'm, I'm guessing [00:22:00] some posted pictures or like check me out in this thing.
Andy: And I bet most people didn't even know what the hell it was.
Ryan: Yeah, it was very much like it was just that white tub showed up, you know, it started to pop up everywhere. It was very like, Whoa, what? Like it popped and it had a very distinct look with the sharp angles. And yeah, we kind of got into this network and we just.
Ryan: We were deliberate. We did write down, like, we called it the entourage effect. We wrote down on a board, like. Here are 20 names that if we felt that we could be within that, if our product could be within 20 of these people, it will feel like we are a hundred X the company that we are, you know, in reality, at that time, that board, Mike and I were in a 10 by 10 office, sharing that office together with about.
Ryan: 3000 square feet of warehouse space with a, a team of four building these plunges and a one person on customer support. And that was the company that was the company, our first six to eight months. And so it was, we felt much more mature than [00:23:00] reality. What was going on behind the scenes, uh, when the game was, how do we mature and how do we evolve to catch up to what, you know, where we want to be.
Andy: man, that's, that's crazy. And so then you have. Then you have like, and this journey is fascinating to me, so you have these leaf people. They're using it. They're telling their friends, you're getting orders. And then at what point where you're like, okay, let's like get the masses all on this. Was it, I mean, it's only been three years, dude.
Andy: Did you just start then like running paid ads and you're like, let's see what happens. And you're like, what's the next point after that? Right? Like what, what was the next kind of like. Holy shit. Now all these people are maybe DMing us on, on Instagram. Like, how do I get one of these or like, and you didn't have enough supply ready for them, right?
Andy: Like walk us through that part after that. Cause now you're really onto something. I feel like you're heating up
Ryan: now. Yeah, there was. So in that first, I think we started running ads probably five months into the company, um, on a very like on, [00:24:00] you know, not super sophisticated, like we're just now throwing up some stuff and we had some.
Ryan: We had an individual out of Portugal running our ads and I remember he first lights the ads up and he comes back to Mike and he's just like, I have never seen ROAS. Like this, like, again, it was this testament to product market fit. Like it was like, we weren't running good. Like these weren't like, again, this was just a, the world was much at a much more accelerant pace than we were realizing wanting this product and open to this product and it.
Ryan: You know, I had a lot of pros in our, in our wins. We had, you know, Andrew Cuban was now doing podcasts on cold exposure. His, he was meteorically rising. So that was like a big testament to us. And then you have, you know, social media, this is a product that's a very unique product where it's like, you're truly doing something hard.
Ryan: And you're, and you feel incredible. And so there's a natural desire to like first share it because you're, you know, you're showing you're doing something hard and you feel [00:25:00] incredible. So it has this like viral, you know, early on had a viral effect on social media. So we were again doing high impressions and being able to, our product also is at a price point where it's, you know, five grand and up.
Ryan: So we were getting people that would normally cost exorbitant amounts of money to do a post or do some partnership that we're like, I don't care. I'll just give me the product and I'll do something that was like, and we were getting five X return from a marketing deliverable from these people. We, you know, we built on, I think what was our big success was we got, we started seeding product.
Ryan: We started having all this organic growth happening. So on a social front, those socials growing, growing organically. Obviously, we're paying on that from like a product perspective and, you know, just the cogs of the product and what goes into that. But then we started running paid ads. We start seeing this really high ROAS.
Ryan: And I think, and this is kind of in the playbook sense, it's like we, we have such an organic and then we harvest that on the paid [00:26:00] side. And so it's like, we are paying. But our, our robot, our paid side stays really strong. And so that's kind of been the playbook since then. And then, you know, thinking through like that 12 months, it was like, okay, now we got to, we have to build more and more of these.
Ryan: Like, you know, we, Mike and I have no. No manufacturing production background. So that was, you know, we started off very like boutiquey into like the team of how they were building it. It was like, we had our builders, we'd hire, you know, people, the job ads were basically like, are you good at plumbing? Are you good at electrical?
Ryan: Are you a handy, handy person? Like. Come in and interview. And so we were just like taking on these people that were more construction background and they could build and do stuff. And so, and we would just train them up. Okay, cool. This is how you build the tub. We, you know, build it out templates a little bit better, better, better.
Ryan: And then they would come in and it was very like each builder was building their own tub, which was fine in that moment to scale, but it's like, uh, every tub would be a little different, a little bit. Yeah. You know, every, every builder was [00:27:00] little bit. And so A big move we've made was about one year in we brought in our, we had been trying to find like a good production manager and to take a step back.
Ryan: It's like we never, the company, we never anticipated, look, we wanted to build a big company, but we weren't like a VC backed company. We didn't, we never wanted to get ahead of our skis. Like, is this. Is this game power? Is this just a moment in time? Like our, is this going to keep growing? So we, we were always behind in our hiring because we never, you know, it was just our money.
Ryan: Like we didn't have a ton of cash to go hire all these like elite people. And so I think we were always. Something I look back on is like, we were always thinking a little too conservatively from, or a little too like hesitantly from our hires, we moved super quick, but our hiring was a little behind. So anyways, we finally got to his bottom.
Ryan: Like, okay, how do we go bring in like someone elite that runs like massive warehouses and, uh, you know, production teams. And so that was a big hire for us about a year in, uh, about 12 months in [00:28:00] or 13 months in brought in a guy named Eric Clifford and he, he. Basically took that off our hands. Like he was like, I got the warehouse, I got the production down.
Ryan: And so now, you know, he turned it into the assembly line. He got it all systematized and really had been the catalyst for scaling production, which was huge for Mike and I, because it's just not our, you know, experience only takes you so far. You know, it's like our experience is the difference and it would have taken us 20 years to go learn.
Ryan: Literally what he knows. And so that's been kind of the, you know, once we dialed that in and it's like, okay, where's our gap again? Okay. Let's hire someone with 20 years experience there. And so that's been the accelerant at this point of just bringing in super experienced people, you know, that are, was that
Andy: scary at first?
Ryan: Was that scary? It, what? No, I think that's something Mike and I are really good at, like, letting go of like, I don't need to, I, less is more. Um, and so. What, what also happened, [00:29:00] this is kind of an inside story, but so we were recruiting this guy, Eric, and, uh, he was actually, we were a vendor of his for packaging.
Ryan: They do custom packaging at his old company, so we were very custom packaging. So he was coming in. We're like, who's this guy? It's like super cheery. Enjoy us. Like with packaging. I was like, you know, if he's excited about packaging, this is the best box, man. This box is man. It's great. If he's that way with that, he's gonna love like this is incredible.
Ryan: You know? We start recruiting him, there's like a, you know, go through that recruitment phase. And so, you know, it was a big hire for us. It's more of our more expensive, it's probably our most expensive hire ever. Like we're getting this guy to make this career change, yada, yada. Well, what had come, the company was about, again, this is about that 12 months in.
Ryan: Mike goes, and this was planned, but Mike goes on a 10 day Vipassana retreat. And so he tells me like with him and, uh, him and his wife, they were [00:30:00] about to have their first, uh, child. So it was something he wanted to do. And I was like, I got this cool. You go and the company's still, I mean, this is. In my world, there's a lot of turbulence going on, but, uh, you know, support him.
Ryan: Cool. You go on your 10 day retreat. He goes fully off grid. Our customer service rep who we had at the time had given out his cell phone number as opposed to the business number. And so customers that were having issues were just blowing him up, you know, as opposed to like, dude, you can't have, they're calling you at all hours.
Ryan: And rightfully so. Some people are frustrated. They spent five grand units having an issue, yada, yada. He has a, he ends up like walks off the job, just leaves like mid, like leaves, like Kaz, this, I can't do this anymore. He leaves. We have no, I can't even get into the emails that he's working off of to see the customers we're running out of cash.
Ryan: I remember seeing our bank account. Go, this is October, so pre black Friday, we're buying inventory [00:31:00] bank accounts going down to, I'm watching it just get down to like, shit, we're going to run out of money. Mike's in, uh, at the Vipassana retreat. We always knew that we could get a Shopify loan. That was like our, our plan.
Ryan: Like, Hey, that you could press a button and they can give you a loan within like hours. I wasn't an admin on the setup, so I couldn't get in to get the loan. So our, our, our customer service rep leaves our, I'm sitting there like, I don't. No one's even talking to our customers for this like 24 hour window, 48 hour window.
Ryan: I, the company's running out of money. Mike's sitting there meditating and I'm sitting, this was like my, and so why I bring all this up, you asked, you asked if it was scary. And I was like, All we need is more talent like I can't like we need to get better people on the team because I can't carry this consistently so it was actually the most no brainer hire like he came in at a time where he had a ton of leverage actually where it was like you need me and yes we do need you because [00:32:00] someone still has to manage this whole team of people building these tubs so long story short it all worked out I you It turned into a positive.
Ryan: One of my good friends, who's now our head of business development. I called him that day when the customer service rep left. They said, Hey, you want to come down? Can you come down to plunge? He thought I was asking him to come down to cold plunge. He comes down. I was like, no, I need you just to answer phone calls.
Ryan: Like, just take phone calls. Like, can you get on? And he, so, you know, that was his first day. And then we hired him on. Now he's like rose with the company, but that was like, uh, You know, at that time, it was a very clear hire of like, we need to get more talented people in. So
Andy: that is crazy. The funniest part is Mike's over there meditating and you're over here.
Andy: And not that Mike knew this was going to happen at all, right? Like I probably thought it was all good. He, yeah, he was like, Oh, shit.
Andy: Oh man, I'm sure Mike came back and was like, dude, I owe you like a hundred beers or I don't know. He was fine. Yeah. [00:33:00] I mean, I remember that phone call. How did he react when he got back? Were you like, dude?
Ryan: Like, how did you? I remember the phone call. He was just like, so, uh, you know, I think it was just very, uh, how's it going?
Ryan: And I was just like, it's been hard. Like, you know, I don't know how else to tell you, like. You know, uh, and he got it quick and it was what and ultimately it was one of those things. It's like I very, you know, it is like you go through these hard times and it becomes these like testaments to the story and like a key.
Ryan: Something I think I had to go through personally, you know, one of my, like, kind of always fears had been like, the team's just going to leave me, like we're building this company. And actually that's what happened. One of our team members just walked off and that was like my core fear. And I, you know, grate, thankfully went through it, like, and everything survived and you get through it and you keep moving forward.
Ryan: And so. I look back, we laugh at it now and also like, you know, builds that resilience. And, you know, it's a good story.
Andy: Yeah. Those are the ones that are like, shit, this sucks now, but it's going to be a great story, like in a [00:34:00] couple of years, a whole thing coming through, like, man, that is just wild. So like, so, so Mike's probably like no more Richard to retreat until we, you know, we do something with it, whatever's next for cold punch.
Andy: So. What is next, man? You guys built, I saw the song are coming, right? You guys are built, so you got the new plunge, the, the, the better design, sexier. Ultimate plunge plus, right. And I'm naming the name. I know it's different, but what, what, like, where are you guys trying to go with this, man? Are you guys trying to like build a public company?
Andy: Are you guys just trying to like, where do
Ryan: you want to go? Yeah, I think, um, you know, we got the Sonic coming out. That was like a natural shift for us. It really came from our customers asking for it. It was very early on. We're getting asked all the time. Hey, would you, are you ever going to build one or who do you recommend?
Ryan: And then we surveyed them and it was like 40 percent we're in the market now. And so we're like, cool. So it took us about two years to get that design production in [00:35:00] place. And so we just now are shipping out our early pre orders. So that's a big focus within the company, really excited about that product, the plunge all in, which was another two years.
Ryan: Of R and D and development for, you know, design and everything that went into that. So that it's, it's even, it's doing better than we even anticipated from a, like a public, public, you know, excitement and, and, and purchases and everything. So that's been, you know, I think the team, we have a really strong engineering team now in house.
Ryan: And so. You know, and that's Mike's background, Mike's a product guy oversees that team. So what's really exciting is like innovation. Like how do we keep, how do we make new products? How do we, you know, a cold plunge that sits in the backyard of Austin is very different than a cold plunge that someone needs in a New York city apartment.
Ryan: How do we go solve that problem? How do we solve in home, you know, already existing bathtubs and get those cold, like all these products that, so I think we want to be like every use case. [00:36:00] company and then, you know, and dominate the, the backyard wellness setups like that is, you know, there's, can we be the right use case for everyone?
Ryan: Can we be Your one stop shop for your backyard Oasis. And then, you know, the app that we just released is becoming is a, is a core component to this, you know, all the products are connected there, all the future products coming are all connected through the app, a lot of exciting stuff that we can do from, you know, where like right now the app's great for tracking your sessions and.
Ryan: Kind of seeing, you know, how your, what your streaks are and kind of understanding that. But then there's a depth that we could really go making this, making this plunge, almost connect with you and kind of where your body's at at that day. What should you be plunging at? What, um, you know, what temperature should you be at?
Ryan: Oh, you shouldn't be going as long today. Your recovery score is low. Like how do we really incorporate this, you know, to get the plunge even more smart and that comes with also more science research, [00:37:00] understanding what the optimal range is with the cold. So we just want to be at the forefront of that and, and really, you know, make this a more understood modality across the board.
Ryan: And you guys, have
Andy: you guys taken any funding?
Ryan: Not yet. No. Not yet. No.
Andy: Wow. So you're bootstrapped per se. Like you're completely like bootstrapped, like that's crazy. No funding, managing all that, that in itself is crazy. You know, like, like it, well, a lot of people think it's crazy. Um, Yeah. And it, especially for hardware stuff, man, cause that stuff is not cheap, right?
Andy: Like building this hard, I'm sure it costs you a couple grand per unit, right? And then your margins. And obviously you're always trying to get those margins down, but like, yeah, I mean, for, for hardware stuff to do that and not take any funding is crazy. Like I
Ryan: mean, The hack, what we, we, we launched with a lead time, you know, you go with a lead time, you can kind of get ahead of, and so now the big cash flow [00:38:00] for the company though, is we've made a big prep, like you now buy a plunge, it ships tomorrow.
Ryan: So, and that's the first time in the company history we've gotten to that spot. And it's been a big press forward for us of like. How do we, which we feel is like a real level up into as a company, like you buy a product. I want to get that product now. I don't want to plan for eight weeks ahead of time.
Ryan: This isn't the COVID years anymore where that was the norm. And so that was our big focus over the last six months as a company of like, how do we scale production? Obviously that impacts cashflow in a wholly different dynamic, but you know, from a, from a customer, our first principles for us is like, what is the best?
Ryan: If I was the consumer, what do I want here? Um, and so that was like a big key for us. So that's what we're super excited on and maintaining that as a company that you can buy our product. Obviously the all in we launched with a four week lead time. Just due to get the pre orders out there, making sure the public was aware to it.
Ryan: They can make the decision on what they want to purchase. Um, but our eventually we'll get there where that, that [00:39:00] ships immediately.
Andy: Holy crap, dude. You've had such huge success that I see a ton of copycats now, right? Like I, you know, there's a bunch of copycats, uh, companies coming out and doing that stuff and like, and I'm sure that was tough.
Andy: It's tough for any founder, right? It's like, Oh shoot, this person's building something exactly like this coming in the market. How do you deal with that? Right? Because I'm sure you know, everyone that pops up, maybe some, and this is a hard business though. So, so maybe die some stay alive, but how are you kind of dealing with the competition if at all?
Andy: Right? Or how, like, what's your mentality around it?
Ryan: We, for cough, it's like. Of course we have, we see what's going on in the marketplace and I think competition, there's a level of like, how do you make competition drive us forward and see what the public wants. And it's, that's just a, that's, that's a all boats rise type situation.
Ryan: Outside of that, we stay laser focused into what we think, you know, what we [00:40:00] want to create. Yeah. I think right now it's like most of the competition is, there's very few companies that are actually like manufacturing and building this themselves. It's very, We're in that phase of kind of a white labeled product.
Ryan: It's all the same just with a different brand on it, running some Google ads, Instagram ads that are going out and drop shipping the product. Yeah. And so I think for that, it's, that is what it is. Like we're, um, yeah, time will tell, you know, we, we know. The value that I think our product is and the premium nature of it.
Ryan: And we do have goals to get products that are even more premium and products that are at more affordable price points. Like we understand that consumers are different. We don't want this just to be, you know, that's why I like some of these other companies. It's like pressing to be like, okay, how do, and so our goal is like, how do we make an even better product?
Ryan: Then what the price point is out there to make this such a no brainer for someone to enter our ecosystem. And that's super excited on that. I, you know, I think we're going to, we're, [00:41:00] we're going to solve here, here very soon.
Andy: Yeah. Yeah. It's, it reminds me of like, you know, like Tesla started in these where it's like, Tesla was originally a premium, you know, product of model S or whatever.
Andy: I believe was the first one. And you, you know, it was a premium product. Right. And then. But it was cool 'cause people were like, oh, that's high status. You know, like if you can get one of those. And then Elon kind of has said that same thing where he's now, he's trying to make, get people into the ecosystem per se, for as cheap as possible.
Andy: Right. And now you can get a freaking Tesla for like the 30 K cheaper than like totally on the Civic or something, you know, which is like so interesting. And it almost sounds like that's kind of like what you're doing, right? Where it's definitely a premium product. Five grand is not cheap. Right. And then you're kind of like seeing how can we fit this into apartments, cheaper products, make them, get them into that ecosystem.
Andy: I will see you guys doing like a wearable at some point, right? Like to monitor, like how your body is affected with the plunge and all that, which is just, it's amazing to see. [00:42:00]
Ryan: Yeah, I think the wearables, we go back, I mean, I think, I think there's enough good things out there on a wearable front that are so far ahead that it's like, how do we tap into those ecosystems and let people use their current wearable that gives feedback into the unit?
Ryan: I think that's, you know, where we're leaning there, but yeah, it's like, you know, a pump, a unit that's inside. doesn't need to be as robust as a unit that's sitting out in Wisconsin winters, you know, it's a different infrastructure to that unit. And we want to fit that use case and make sure we don't want to launch so many products where we kind of get saturated with too much, but it's like, can every product actually solve, be very clear for the consumer that they're not confused into what they should be purchasing.
Ryan: But they know for their use case that that is the no brainer product for them to get. That's kind of leads us there into like, okay, where are we not, what market are we not serving with our current product base? Go solve that problem. Roll that out. Cause my, you know, for me, it's like, I never want, I don't want to be the company that has.[00:43:00]
Ryan: 60 products sitting on the site and people are under like, you know, innovation. Yeah. What do I buy? There's analysis by analysis. There's a engineering teams tied up in so many products that are just tweaking difference. And like, how do we keep it? How do we stay nimble? How do we roll out a product to tech solving a bigger problem?
Andy: Like I are, I pretty much know all the products you guys have, right. Which is like just from the ads and stuff. And I'm like, they are very like, They have the high class, the new cold plunge, they have the sauna, then they have the, the first cold plunge they launched. Right. So it keeps it very, something like that, almost like the Apple model, uh, which is changing or, or even athletic greens, right?
Andy: I see athletic greens. They were like, Oh, let's make this green pack or this green, whatever. And then, Oh, people want it while they travel. Let's make the travel pack. Totally. But dude, they still only sell like three
Ryan: products. You know, I mean, for a company that's grown that big, it's, you know, I think the temptation's always like, let's get new product categories and they [00:44:00] go focused into like, we are this and we don't do anything outside of that.
Ryan: And let's just make it actually had a call with their founder. And that was his thing was like, how do like, all I'm concerned on is improving this product. Like, can I source one better ingredient in there? Can I get one better, you know, add some new element that moves it over the top? Can it come from a better sourcing place?
Ryan: So anyways, I was like, I really respected that. We're in this, you know, it's very tempting as you're growing to be like, Oh, we can go take over that. Yeah. You know, and your customers are going to start asking, you get these voices coming in like, Hey, you guys do this, you guys do that. And it's very tempting.
Ryan: And so, you know, I think they've been a shining example of just staying focused and, and, and pushing forward. Nice.
Andy: And yeah, I think, you know, one, one last question that I want to kind of end with you here, Ryan, it's like, man, I feel like you could do some awesome, like marketing. Campaigns with cold plunge.
Andy: Like I had [00:45:00] this idea. I was, I like love to see these humor. Like, I would love to see you guys put like a cold plunge in the most random place where there shouldn't be a cold plunge. Like, I don't know, the Sahara desert or some shit. Right. And you like put it right in the middle. And then like, you see a guy in a cold plunge and you zoom out and you're like, holy shit, this guy's in the middle of the desert.
Andy: Right. Like when that, so. What's some of the crazy marketing ideas you guys have that maybe you haven't done yet? Or are you guys just doing the UGC thing? Do you have any plans for it? Cause I, dude, I think you guys would kill it with doing some funny like cold plant shit like that.
Ryan: One that came up yesterday, like we were actually at a meeting yesterday.
Ryan: We're going over all our creative for the rest of the year. And you know, we have some funny ideas of, uh, you know, especially BFC black Friday and all this window. The one that we thought of was like, I just think would be hilarious. Like, uh, it's kind of a spinoff on those old, like Lexus commercials where they come out and there's a bow on the, on the, you know, you walk out Christmas morning and they buy [00:46:00] the Lexus, the one that's in the driveway, but there's, there's one where it's like so many, there's like this juxtaposition with like male and female, like men are like, yeah, I'm so tough.
Ryan: I want the unit. And it's like, and a lot of times it's like, maybe the dad, the husband leads the way, but the wife ends up plunging more. But the doing this like opposite where the wife really wants it, but she buys it for her husband where she's buying it for herself. And then you get the husband that's like in fear now.
Ryan: He's like, shit, I actually have to do this. Like, you know, you talk like you see so many people talking this big game. And so I think there's It's something we see, like we actually find that women are, they adapt to the cold a lot better than the men do. Like they actually know how to surrender and relax into the experience where men like, I'm going to fight this.
Ryan: Like I'm going to, you know, suffer through it. Generalizing here. But I think there's something really funny about kind of playing to those, uh, different positions. So that was something we were talking through of, uh, you know, the wife buying the [00:47:00] husband, the husband in fear now, but not playing it off.
Ryan: Like, no, this is great. And then. You know, now he actually has to go do, do the hard thing. Oh, this
Andy: reminds me of, you know, I'm sure, you know, liquid death, right? Cause they're, they're, they're amazing. Like they're, they're, I think he has a whole, uh, I'm trying to get him on the pod too. He has this whole, uh, I think he has a whole creative team.
Andy: Probably like you, you have a pretty good creative team now, but he has like humor writers and all that.
Ryan: They're massive. They're, they're on a whole, they're planning out year, a year in advance. Anything that they're doing is 12, 18 months away, which is
Andy: just crazy. But, and it's all fire. And I was listening to this interview.
Andy: I think, uh, Mike Cesario is his name, the CEO founder. And I was listening to an interview and they were, they were talking a little bit about his process. And he goes, Honestly, we used to be a quantity play, right? We used to try and do all the, as much content as we could and all that, but now we're quality.
Andy: We've kind of switched our mindset and we actually listened to the [00:48:00] comments a lot of, of what our customers are saying from previous videos. And a lot of their ideas come from that, like, Oh, it was so funny. I gave it to my kid and he thought it was a beer. Right. And then you see them make videos around that kind of concept, you know, and you're like, Oh my God, that is like.
Andy: I see it. Right. Cause I've seen comments like that and they kind of just take their, their customer comments. They get a lot of likes, which is interesting. And they kind of repurpose it. It's smart. Right. And it's like, cause if people have already liked it, they validated that idea would be funny per se, which I was like, Oh my God, that's genius.
Ryan: they're like, it's smart. They do such a good job of like, they're so clear on their DNA. Like, you know, liquid death is death. And it's like, you know, it like their, their brand is so clear. Uh, and they're all in on it. Yeah, I think that is like their legacy You know, in years to come, that's the case study on them is like, we are this and we are not this.
Ryan: And there's nothing in between you love us or you hate us. And we are good. Yeah. [00:49:00] Any of it. Like,
Andy: dude. And they live this. One of the best quotes that someone told me that I, that I like is like, love me or hate me. There's no money in the middle. Totally. And I'm like, that's them. That's them, dude. They're like, I don't get, they're like, I don't care.
Andy: Like your haters are almost the loudest too. And they like, give them, get them customers. They probably realize that. Which is crazy. Um, Ryan, been a pleasure, man. Uh, thank you for hopping on, dude. We'll, we'll, we'll get this out. The story was amazing. Just hearing all this. I think people really like this, man.
Andy: Thanks, brother. Yeah. All right, brother. Enjoy
Ryan: the day. Peace.