Customer service and retention are so important and Jon Bostock Co-Founder of Trumans shares his leadership insights from nearly a decade at General Electric and his time at Big Ass Fans before they sold for 500 Million USD.
Trumans is disrupting the cleaning category with an innovative new range of cleaning products, reducing wastage and environmental damage.
“Fast Company has honored Truman’s as part of its World Changing Ideas Awards, which were announced today.
Launched just two months ago, Truman’s brings stark simplicity to the $30 billion home cleaning products industry. The company’s lineup of four cleaners, which are shipped directly to customers, tackle virtually all of a home’s hard surfaces.
Beyond convenience and simplicity, Truman’s boasts today’s greenest cleaners by offering patented refill cartridges that eliminate single-use plastic bottles. All you do is fill your bottle with water and pop in a cartridge. When the bottle’s empty, admire your cleanliness and simply refill the same bottle with water and a new cartridge. To compare carbon footprints, it takes 31 semi-trucks filled with ready-to-use cleaners to equal just one semi-truck of the equivalent of Truman’s refill cartridges.”
Also you may want to checkout this episode:- Revenue Blindspots with Bryan Eisenberg – Episode 12
To learn more about Jon Visit Trumans here
WARNING — AI Transcriptions Below May Cause Grammatically Correct People Serious Stress and Lack of Sleep!
Nathaniel Schooler 0:23
So today I’m interviewing Jon Bostock. And he co founded a direct to consumer cleaning company called Truman’s – aiming to upend the state cleaning industry with conveniently delivered easy-to-use products that replace single use plastic bottles. Jon brings leadership experience from nearly a decade at General Electric, followed by his time shepherding the 500 million US dollar sale of Big Ass Fans in late 2017. And he shares some great insight here. Let’s dig into the interview.
Well, it’s great to meet you, john. And I’m quite interested in learning a bit more about you. Bryan Eisenberg speaks very highly of you.
Jon Bostock 1:07
You know, Bryan is a brilliant guy. And I’m super honored and humbled that that Bryan says nice things about me, I love his book Be Like Amazon, I’ve learned a lot from it. When you look at the businesses that I’ve either run, or now created a lot of the principles that are in the book you find them in everything we do. One of the things I love is this idea that you’ve got to be close to the customer. And it’s all about authentic relationships within that customer experience. And so, you know, humbled by what Brian says and super excited to meet you. And looking forward to the conversation.
Nathaniel Schooler 1:42
Likewise. So today, I think we’re going to talk about customer service and retention. There’s me, I’m having to check over there because I got so many things going on in my brain right now. My brain is a bit like this library, you know, it’s organized, but it’s but it needs a bit of work. Yeah.
Jon Bostock 2:00
So I know you have read every single one of those books. I can’t wait to ask a specific questions about what’s on specific pages of those books.
Nathaniel Schooler 2:10
I’ve actually got Be Like Amazon, I actually have got that. So it’s brilliant. Yeah, I remember when I remember when he was just about to release it. And he gave me the copy that’s like before, so my title is different. It’s not like the real title. Yeah. So like, I’ve got a different title, because he changed it slightly when he launched. But the stories in there about customer service are just absolutely brilliant. So why should people listen to you, Jon?
Jon Bostock 2:39
You know, look, I think what I’ve learned throughout my career, and which by the way, I started in a big company that was very far removed from the customer. And I think when you go through experiences like that, when you work in a big conglomerate that sells through distributors, and relies on others to tell your story, and then you go to an environment, which I had the chance to do that actually is very close to the customer.
So I went from a big conglomerate, to a company that sells direct to businesses all over the world, direct to consumers all over the world. And what I saw was an exceptional relationship with the customer, and extraordinary value that’s created when you’re closer to the customer, not only do you get quicker feedback, and you get the ability to really bond with that customer. But when you establish the lifetime value of an authentic relationship, it truly does help with brand building, it helps with new product development, it helps with everything you do.
Now, what I would say is just being direct, doesn’t mean you’re automatically customer centric. It’s a philosophy. And so for me, I feel as though I’ve learned about that philosophy, but the number one thing that drives everything I do and especially with my new startup Trumans, which is based in the United States, and it’s at Trumans.com.
But it’s this idea that people are people, and you have to treat them like people, even if you’re a company, you have to treat an individual as though they’re a living, breathing human being. And that works for business to business and business to consumer. And so, you know, if you look at what we do today, we interact with customers on a daily basis, and we treat them as though we would treat everyone in the world if they ask us a question. We’re going to answer it in an authentic way. And ultimately, I think we as people want to interact with businesses and organizations that connect with you. And so for me, I think what I do different is that I understand that people are real. And I understand that companies need to be real and authentic. And you drive that as part of the strategy.
Nathaniel Schooler 4:48
Right. Yeah, I mean, I grew up in retail. So I kind of I was I used to work in wine merchants back in the day, like, I studied wine at college, and my Dad had a winery and this guy stuff and what you were in particular, you were saying about writing handwritten notes. And that really resonated with me because it reminds me of a day I used to work in the shop on occasion at the winery. So I would give people tastings of liqueurs. And we used to sell something called Mead, honey wine, right? Which is because everyone at school in the states read a book called Beowulf. You see! Apparently, according to my Dad, I mean, probably that I’ve read that book anymore.
But like in Beowulf, they had this they had this Mead hall, which was a big room where everyone used to drink Mead and kind of pass out, you know, back in the day, you know, thousand 2000 years ago, but in the shop, I remember this chap coming in, and he was buying some presents for his customers and his friends and this kind of stuff. And, and he said, I’ll just put a compliment slip in there. And like he brought his own compliment slips with him. But he didn’t even know write on the compliment slip. Yeah. And I said to him, I said: “What are you doing? Like, I’m going to go to all this trouble. I’m going to wrap up this bottle of booze here. And I’m going to put it into this bag, right with a with a little leaflet and everything. And you’re not going to write in your own hand. Yeah, saying thank you very much for your custom?”
Jon Bostock 6:22
Nathaniel Schooler 6:23
Like is that like some kind of insanity or something? I’m just….
Jon Bostock 6:28
Yeah, you know, I think personal touch is important. But I also think about customer communication and the need to communicate with people in a lot of different ways. I think one part of it is speed. And there are certainly individuals who need to get feedback instantly. And if you look at our communication strategy, it extends all the way to very human personal touches, so for example, I drew some cartoons on our boxes. The other day I wrote Thank you drew a cartoon inside my name on several of the boxes that went out. And I’m genuinely curious to see if I ever find out which customer received it. That’s one side of personal attention, a handwritten note, thank you. And that’s that’s a true inspiration. I was walking through the factory yesterday saw the boxes and felt compelled to do that. And that was authentic.
I think the other the other side of communication, which is just as important is speed, and ability to interact with the customer online. What we’ve noticed is so we have an online chat. And when you think about what we do so Truman’s calm has cleaning products, we sell cleaning products direct to consumers, we happen to do it in a very unique way that’s built for e commerce, that’s very sustainable. We’re disrupting the supply chain. But what’s amazing about it is even in a category, that is a low price point category, that’s somewhat unemotional in the past, there still are questions that happen in real time. You know, we take thousands of chat inquiries. Every week, our average response time is 30 seconds. And by the way, we’re not just answering questions in a way that is that is is is giving them the information they’re looking for. We’re answering questions in a way that connects with them. And so when they bring up something, we oftentimes deliver a cleaning plan. And I think that’s one of Bryan Eisenberg, who we talked about his favorite part of the company is the humor that comes along with it. And so for us, we see communication as a very, very critical part, we see the connection with the customer as super important. And I agree with you, the idea of him writing something is important. But equally as important is the idea to provide people the information they need as fast as possible so that they can make a decision. We’re actually launching text in May, and texts will give us the ability to allow for customers to text us. And they can order through texts, they can ask questions through texts, but what we’re doing is we’re saying what is the way people want to communicate? What is the easiest way to interact with them, and we’re building that as a capability. I agree with you. I think handwritten notes are best for saying thank you. Because we don’t do that enough. You know, and I’m appreciative of the time that we spend together on a on a discussion like this. But frankly, when someone emails me even a suggestion, I write a personal note back and may sometimes have to be through email, because I don’t have the time to write them. But the personal attention that we give is critical. And I think it’s important for everyone to show their appreciation and give back.
Nathaniel Schooler 9:28
Yeah, I agree. 100% I think that personal touch, it means a lot. I mean, people used to go into the winery, just to see my Dad, you know, they used to, I mean, he’s from he’s from the States, he’s actually from, from Long Island, New York, and his Dad used to have like a factory over there. They used to make a partition walling and stuff like back in the day, you know, and some of the stories that he’s telling me about, like the old days, it’s like, seriously, man, it’s like, I can’t talk about it. I’ve been sworn to secrecy. But like you’re talking like, you know, sort of dodgy government officials trying to extort money from from him and like, how he dealt with that. And like, just some really cool things, because he’s like, 86.
Jon Bostock 10:11
Yeah, you say, cool. I would say that’s messy,
Nathaniel Schooler 10:14
I would say it was it turned out really like a cool story. I’ll tell you afterwards. And if anyone wants to hear it, I’ll tell them, but I will. But if my dad here is I’ve been telling anyone here just kill me.
Jon Bostock 10:26
That’s fantastic. That’s an awesome story. See, we always use the pot. And we say that sounds messy. But we’re here to clean it up.
Nathaniel Schooler 10:33
So it was clean. It was cleaned out like real style, like, yeah, there was it put it this way, there was a guy with a really clean house along the street. Yeah, and no one ever mess with this guy’s house or his car or his walls or anything. And like he kind of fixed this little problem.
Jon Bostock 10:54
You know, here’s what I would say, I think it is so important. It is so important to create stories with customers. You know, I actually had an amazing story that I’d love to share, I was interacting with a customer on Twitter. And I take time to personally respond to every single message that’s sent my way on Twitter, it takes up a ton of time. But I think it’s super important. You know, there are a lot of leaders that live on Twitter. But they’re also people who give you great feedback, there was a customer actually gave a great suggestion, the suggestion was about a about a product that we don’t have the way the product is put together, I actually asked her to send a message to our company, knowing that I would be the one to reply to her. And so I took her email address, and I actually had a great discussion with her, we ultimately sent her free product. And that’s an example of you know, that’s a story that I’m going to be able to share for a while not because I did it to create a story, but because we didn’t have the product that she wants. But we were able to get it to her, because we have the ability to put it together in a way that made sense for her. And so, you know, I think what comes out of that. And what I’m sure comes out of those stories that your dad talks about is a time when business could adjust when business could make different things for different customers.
You know, we’ve gotten into a phase where big business ultimately blocks us from the ability to serve the customer. Either we have it sitting on the retail shelf, and we can’t give them what they really want, or we’ve gotten a certain way. But the reality is when you look at those stories that you’re telling about your Dad and his business, when you boil it all down, what you get to is amazing interactions with customers changing things around moving things around to make it work. And those are the values that we’re actually trying to bring the Trumans what we’re trying to do is, obviously disrupt the industry obviously get the industry to rethink the way the supply chain works. But we’re looking to create those amazing experiences with people because we know that’s the foundation for creating an amazing business that you’re talking about for years to come. And look, we’re talking about your Dad’s business that now is is you know, it’s been a while since that business was doing those things, those messy, you talked about. So that that’s the heart and soul of what we’re trying to do.
Nathaniel Schooler 13:11
Yeah, it’s a people orientated business, isn’t it? I mean, it’s, it’s quite interesting, really to sort of do that. I mean, I just I think, at some stage, your Twitter account is going to become completely out of control, you’re never going to be able to manage that. So you’re going to need to get some help with that. I think,
Jon Bostock 13:28
No, no, you gotta carry on doing that.
Nathaniel Schooler 13:31
What if you’ve got like 10,000 tweets to respond to or something?
Jon Bostock 13:35
First of all, look, here’s the thing, I will never have, I will never allow someone else to write my messages. It may take me an hour longer, it may take me a little longer, but it’s going to be me responding. That’s the whole purpose of it. And so, you know, if, if it gets to a point that it takes a little bit more time, I actually replied to someone recently and said” “Hey, I was dropping my kids off at school, I’m sorry, reply faster.” So life works, I want them to know, I’m a real human being. And I do think that, you know, that’s going to remain something that that, you know, is my personal touch with, with customers. And I’m going to continue to draw on boxes, I’m going to continue to, to write notes and put them in boxes, maybe not every single box, but, you know, do it because I’m appreciative of that. And, you know, I’ve actually personally spent time on our chat function online, I think I learned a tremendous amount from it.
At the same point, I think consumers can hear, you know, directly from someone who has a vested interest in the company and obviously wants to see succeed over the next 50 years. So, you know, we’re committed to this. This isn’t like a stuff that we’re doing within the first week. I mean, I think, I think authenticity and customer centricity is something that you build a company on. And then you figure out how to scale within that format, I think, to your point, per me personally, as an individual scaling with Twitter may become challenging, but what I’m saying is, we’re going to scale as it exists, the timeframe may extend, but it’s always going to remain the authentic approach.
Cool. That’s really cool. I mean, I know someone that’s that’s built a lot of PR using his Twitter account. And he sits there at traffic lights, you know, he’s, I think he’s in he’s in Palm Springs now. But like he does, but he’s got like, the most widely visited web show in the world, over four million and a half listeners a week. Yeah, it’s insane. absolutely insane. And, yeah, it’s insane. And, and he’s just a select. It’s a celebrity kind of show that he does, basically. But he sits down, he tweets all the time, like all day long. And what he does is he picks 20 people a day. And he sends them a public message. And he says, Hey, you have a good day, and, you know, blah, blah, blah, and everything out.
Nathaniel Schooler 15:54
And I’m like, This is crazy. And I’m like, dude, you need to get some software like that makes it easier for you. Because you can get you can get it, you can get some amazing software. I mean, I used to be a bit of a Twitter Ninja, I’m not I’m not that amazing on Twitter anymore. But I used to be really hot on Twitter. And and there’s a tool, there’s a tool that i’ll tell you what it is after no problem. And it literally it makes your life on Twitter a lot easier, but you need to use it from your desktop computer. Yeah. And if you want to reach out to like specific people on there, it makes you work out, you know, better who you want to target and like, why you want to sort of mentioned them instead of other people. So it gives you a lot more choices. You know, and I think….
Jon Bostock 16:44
Yeah, I’ll tell you any tool that allows us to grow and and able to facilitate the dialogue we’re interested in, I absolutely love getting feedback. And it is it is extraordinary. I think what you learn and what you see, and new products come out of it, new ideas come out of it. Um, you know, sometimes the the criticism is hard. And you have to deal with that. But that that’s, that’s part of, that’s part of the experience. I mean, if I didn’t want to see the negative, I wouldn’t sign on to our online chat and our computer, you know, any anything you do, there’s good and there’s bad, what what we look at what we’re doing is a first step, we know that no company can be perfect, we know that no company can serve all. But ultimately, what you do is is you try to do the best you can you try to do good for the planet, you try to do good for customers. And ultimately, I triy to be human about it and authentic about it and tell them sometimes when it doesn’t work for them, or tell them sometimes when you really appreciate what they do. And you really appreciate them being a part of your company.
Nathaniel Schooler 17:49
Yeah, I think learning from the customer, like the questions that they’re asking, and compiling a list of all of those, the data that you can, you can put together actually understand, you know, however many people a month asked for a certain type of product. So they asked for a certain, you know, I don’t know, like a lemon smelling hand wash or something. It doesn’t matter what it is, does it? And the point is, is that they’re asking for it. Right? And if you can, if you can provide that, then you’re going to be laughing aren’t you Jon, I think, you know, that’s, that’s kind of really, really quite key to, to all of this sort of stuff.
Jon Bostock 18:32
Yeah, I think so. I mean, look, I think the feedback loop is critical, but also just the emotional side of it. And seeing where people struggle seeing where people get confused. It’s not only ideas, but it’s making something better, it’s making something easier, and so that that constant loop of feedback and an innovation is is important. You know, we want to lead the charge. And we want to shift the way the industry things. And when you do that, when you have a big mission like that, we’re not doing this to simply make a few bucks and say we built a company, we’re doing this to shift the way the industry works. And when I say shift, but I mean is in the United States, there are $30 billion worth of products sold every year that’s ready to use product. What I mean by ready to use is you buy a spray bottle of cleaner that is 98% water.
So think about the large manufacturing facilities that are needed to facilitate that. Think about the amount of trucks needed the diesel trucks on the road to facilitate that, think about the number of warehouses distribution centers, consider that it takes 31 trucks to move the equivalent of one truck of concentrate. So what is a concentrate is just the solution in the cleaner. So when you’re buying a cleaner, that’s 98% water, we ask the fundamental question is why? why are country companies shipping water? When the consumer wants convenience!
Here’s what the consumer wants, consumers want great products. Very, very convenient. at an affordable price, they want to buy those products in a very, very convenient manner, what we’re seeing that translate to is e commerce, the amount of e commerce business today is moving faster than it ever will, it’s going to continue to move faster and faster and faster, there will never be a time that moves this slow. So we’re building a product that is environmentally friendly, that we only ship the concentrates.
So now you take away all those manufacturing facilities, you take away the distribution centers, we take away the warehouses to take 30 trucks off the road, and you have one that brings up from our factory to the consumer. So we’re rethinking it. And part of that rethinking it makes a much more sustainable environment much more sustainable ecosystem of a company. But to make that shift against billion dollar businesses, businesses that go through the same process sell billions of billions of billions of dollars a product to retailers who put it on their shelf and sell billions of dollars of product, do the same thing every year, what you need is a movement. And so part of why we’re so maniacal about this customer experience, and so maniacal about the feedback loop is because if you’re not listening, you can’t get people to join you, you can’t get people to join you on the fight to actually clean up the mess that ironically, big cleaning has made. And so we’re really trying to shift the industry. For us what success looks like, is less about our own company. What for us success looks like is the entire industry in the US converting to concentrates. And the reason why I say the US is because I know the rest of the world, a lot of concentrates are being used.
Now we have a huge following in the UK right now on our company. And we know that many people have asked for us to bring treatments the UK and it’s something we’re actually looking at doing.
Nathaniel Schooler 21:56
Jon Bostock 21:57
But here’s what I would tell you. Here’s what I would I tell you that we need to solve a fundamental issue in the US and prove that it’s scalable, that we can take on the big companies and make it work, we’ve set the company up to do that. And so that’s why it’s so critical for us to get people behind what we do. And that’s why it’s so important for us to connect with them and explain to them on a one to one basis, why it’s so important for them to make the decision to buy our product.
Nathaniel Schooler 22:25
It makes a massive, massive difference, and so much sense really as well, if you, you know, I mean, we, as a country, I’ve noticed probably I think about maybe 10 years ago, maybe 15, we started having a lot more concentrated kind of products. Yeah, like, you know, more concentrated sort of orange juices and you know, squash and these kind of these kind of products, right? But like, the environmental ticket needs to be played more. Yeah. And I think I can’t wait for this to actually happen in the beauty industry. Yeah. Because the amount of junk that people buy in the beauty industry, right, that is so not needed. Yeah, it’s just a piece of branding, right?
You buy all this stuff, you actually don’t even need it. Yeah, like you really don’t need it.
Jon Bostock 23:15
That’s right. There are a lot of categories. I think what what we need to do, as entrepreneurs, as innovators, as citizens of the planet, we ultimately have to start making better buying decisions. And we need to look at how those those products are manufactured number one, and number two, how they actually get to your home.
And the example I used obviously is a clear dysfunction. In in the category one of the categories, and we’re not in this category. But one category that really bothers me, is windshield washer fluid. And the reason why it bothers me is because you’ve got these massive jugs that are put in gas station, someone drives their car to a gas station, they fill their reservoir with a big jug of windshield washer fluid, and then they throw that big plastic jug away at the gas station with a 100% probability that that jug is going to end up in a landfill.
So think about the insanity of that process. And that’s not something we’re solving, I hope someone who is listening to this is inspired to take technology that is out there, there are companies that are selling the little pellets that you drop into your windshield washer tank, and you simply add water. The problem is that they’re not telling the story in the right way. And so that is a category that maybe one day Truman’s my company will be able to disrupt. But that’s an example of a category that is sitting in front of us, that makes absolutely no sense. And we as consumers need to make better decisions. And so you can go through almost every single category, I would say start with categories that are more than 98% water or more than even 90% water, immediately those categories should be shifted to concentrate, we should be putting extra trucks on the road, we should never be putting extra warehouses in the market.
And by the way, the previous company that I ran was a company that sold big industrial fans in warehouses and distribution centers. And the reason why we sold those big fans is because heating and cooling those facilities and the energy drain of those facilities is terrible for the planet. And so the value proposition of the big fan was that we could reduce energy costs reduce the burden on the environment. But the bottom line is if you go to concentrate, you don’t need those warehouses, you don’t need distribution centers, we need to make smarter decisions as companies and consumers to reduce what we buy. Once we’re reducing it in concentrated form, then we can look at more sustainable materials, then we can look at loop processes where it’s easier to get it back and reuse that product. But we are focused focus on the wrong thing for companies to stand up and say that they’re offering you a non toxic cleaner with an ocean grade plastic bottle. So they’ll say, well:- “We recycled plastic from the ocean, and we made this plastic bottle and it’s non toxic cleaner, therefore we’re doing our part!” You’re not because if you use concentrate, the supply chain would be 75% less burdensome on the environment. And so these are the types of things that we need to get out there. So people understand and can make good decisions about.
Nathaniel Schooler 26:31
Wow, so your products are totally direct to consumer, they’re not in Wholefoods or anywhere else, right? There are just direct.
Jon Bostock 26:43
Yeah, so to put a finer point on that, we want to establish direct relationships with our customers, because it’s important from a customer experience perspective. But we go from our factory, to an individuals home.
Nathaniel Schooler 26:57
Jon Bostock 26:58
So when you think about the reduction in supply chain, when you think about retail, what retail requires our additional trucks, distribution centers, warehouses sitting on a retail environment, that takes up a lot of energy, that takes up a lot of resources, we take all of that out. Now with the savings that we get from that we’re actually passing a much better product to the consumer. And so while we’re priced in parity with products in the marketplace, so if you look at commodities products, that’s where we’re priced, but what we’re giving is an ultra premium, non toxic product.
Now, here’s why that’s important. Because most non toxic, biodegradable products on the marketplace are priced really high. And their prices are really high because of the supply chain. And because of the cost of the formula. But my theory and our thesis is built around that actually prevents people from buying it, that makes it less accessible to the masses. And so what we’ve done is we’ve said:- “Let’s reduce the supply chain, let’s give people a non toxic formula that actually works.”
Because what most companies get criticized for his products that don’t work. So the reason why people don’t buy green cleaners, it’s because they don’t work. So we’re giving you a great, the best formula in the world in non toxic cleaning, priced in a commodities manner, direct to consumer. And so that’s how we’re doing it. That’s how we’re building the business. You know, right now we’re offering it as bulk. So when you look at the United States, and you think about both guys like Costco, as an example, where you buy in bulk, that’s the philosophy we sell in packs of four. And we do that in order to make the model work. The other important message of that is, we don’t want to ship you one refill at a time, we do not want the mailman showing up at your door every single day of the week. And so we’re telling a story around being smarter about it. And frankly, if we’re sitting on the retail shelf, you would never hear the story. But the fact that we respond to you on Twitter, the fact that we have people on online chat, that helps the message get across and ultimately helps the consumer understand what they’re buying.
Nathaniel Schooler 29:00
Makes a lot of sense. And that is the essence of getting the customers servicing the customers and retaining the customers because your your understanding their problems on you, you are understanding the bigger environmental, corporate social responsibility, because that’s in essence, what we’re talking around here, are we talking around, doing the best thing that you can for the environment, you know, it couldn’t be any better, could it at the end of the day?
Jon Bostock 29:29
I mean, ultimately, we don’t want to create companies that the top 1% can benefit from, and that’s doing good for the environment. So we don’t want to price ourselves out of sustainability. What we’re doing is making sustainability accessible. And we see it as a first step we know we’re not perfect, we know we have a lot of things to do to make the company even more sustainable. But we have to take this first step. And so that’s why it’s so critical for us to have that direct connection. And for people to understand how they can contribute, how they can be involved. And hopefully they buy other products that follow the same theory on how to how to how to do good for the planet.
Nathaniel Schooler 30:08
Yeah, it’s it’s a massive, massive thing right now. And like, especially with that girl from Sweden who stood up and like she did this TED talk, I don’t know if you saw it, but she she stood up. And basically, she’s 15 years old. And she stood up and talked about, you know, the environment and how like Sweden, a green and they’re recycling everything, and no one else is listening. And did you see it?
Jon Bostock 30:34
Yes. And I think those are the battle cries we need, you know, things like that, people to stand up. I think that’s what we need. We need more people to do it. We need more people to ask why. I think if we can inspire a younger generation to ask why certain things are the way they are, and not just rely on the status quo is just this is going to be a much better place. And I think that when people criticize “Environmental Action” as either being far left or being some crazy idea, what I can tell you is that you can build sustainable businesses that work extraordinarily well for the consumer.
I can argue all day long, that when people make a play for the environment, that there is a way to find a very profitable path, and very sustainable path to making sure that it works. And so I applaud people who stand up and really get the message out there. I try to educate. I’ve got an eight year old and a three year old, I try to educate them to make better decisions and to walk through the retail environment and ask why certain products are the way they are, you know, this is this is a very fragile ecosystem. This is a very fragile economy. And we just simply need to make better decisions.
I can’t imagine any CEO, whether you subscribe to the belief of the economy has been should be front and center to say that it would make more sense that 31 trucks on the road versus one I know in no world does. Does anyone think that the math makes sense that 31 trucks 31 diesel trucks should move product, whether you’re an environmentalist or not, you can do math and figure out that that is more expensive.
Nathaniel Schooler 32:25
Oh, yeah, but also the storage as well of the product. And I see exactly why you’re not going to the UK with this. You need to get a factory here. It’s completely pointless, ridiculous solution to launch this anywhere else apart from the States until you have a factory that covers the area. Right? I mean, what’s the what’s the point of shipping it halfway across the world? We just build a factory and make it over here. Right? And you do the same in Canada, the same in Mexico.
Jon Bostock 32:55
I fully so I had a I had a meeting yesterday with we do have a strategic investor who works with us. And I’m fully convinced based on what you just said that you would bugs my meeting, because we spent an hour talking specifically about the UK. And so hopefully, that bug is taken out of the room by the time we launch.
Nathaniel Schooler 33:23
But it’s a no brainer, isn’t it? It’s like the it’s a lot like the Million Dollar Shave Club. What was it that $1? Shave Club? Right? It’s a similar? Matt, it’s just a similar process, isn’t it? It’s just like.
Jon Bostock 33:37
So you know, I think the difference is that when you look at shaving as a category, it’s the theory there is it makes a little bit easier, because you can get it delivered to your home and you don’t need it more frequently. Obviously, for someone like me, I don’t shave as much. But you know, for us, I think the difference is that if you look at the cleaning category that’s growing 8% year, e-commerce is growing 50% a year what people want is to get the product to their home. But the category isn’t built for ecommerce, whereas I think Gillette had they had the foresight, they could have easily started shipping to customers direct when the trend existed, that the main difference that we’re dealing with is if you try to ship a bottle of ready to use product, it’s expensive for the consumer, it breaks it leaks. In fact, we look at hundreds and hundreds of reviews every single day about consumers complaining that it broke, you know, when you ship 98% water, there’s a high probability that’s going to break and route.
So I think the difference between what we’re trying to do and Dollar Shave Club or Harrys as an example is there’s simply taking a category that exists or keeping it the same. But they’re saying now you can buy it online from us, we’re saying there’s a better way of doing it, there’s a better way of creating the entire program. And by the way, we’re making it as efficient and giving you as much value as possible as a consumer, because we’re giving you a ultra ultra high end quality product at a lower price. I mean, it’s almost the equivalent of like, imagine if Tesla and I know they’re trying to do this with their new model. But if they said it’s 20,000 bucks, how about it? Right? I mean, that’s kind of the strategy of saying, we want to make this successful, because we believe in electric vehicles. So we’re going to take Tesla, the $20,000 car, go at it, but it was still that luxury feel. You know, it wasn’t, it wasn’t a kind of a lesser version of what we know today.
Nathaniel Schooler 35:36
It’s very cool. what you guys are doing. Very cool.
Jon Bostock 35:39
Nathaniel Schooler 35:40
So in terms of the customer service, right? That is so at the moment you’re delivering through the mailman. Yeah. Is that is that fair to say? So the customer service really just exists within your website and your people, right? The mailman is just someone who delivers and the customer services is you guys listening to what people want? And that’s why you’re retaining the customer, because you’re giving them what they want. Is that is that fair?
Jon Bostock 36:08
Yeah, yeah, I think, you know, ultimately, the individual delivering that package does play an important part in our company. And obviously, we want that package to arrive in very good in very good condition. But ultimately, you’re right. We’re not a shadowy Cloud.com company in the sky that has no human behind it. If you go to our site, you can live chat with someone, it’s right now only available from about 8am East Coast US to about 10pm. East Coast US but hopefully one day, it’s it’s 24/7. That’s one way of talking to us.
But as I said, you know, I’m active on Twitter, I answer hundreds of questions every single day. We’re active on LinkedIn, we answer direct questions every single day, Facebook, Instagram as well. It may not be me personally on those platforms, as I mentioned, Twitter is is really the only platform that I personally respond to, sometimes I get on chat, but that’s less frequent.
So we are surrounding the customer with the ability to communicate with us and the way that that best works for them. But also within customer centricity. If there are any issues, we’re in a position that we can solve it extraordinarily fast. And that’s something that we’re never going to allow to, to fade in our company, we, we really believe that if we’ve confused the customer, as an example, will instantly make it right.
Because even if the customer is confused, we did something that that obviously, was not communicated well. And so we take care of things instantly. And those types of those types of communication methods allow you to do that in a really efficient and meaningful life.
Nathaniel Schooler 37:59
Very cool what you are doing. Very cool. So what, what exact products are we sort of talking about here? Like, just because I don’t know, like, you know, no, no, because only literally, I this the first time I spoken to, and and yeah, I should have had a look, I had a brief look at the website, and I saw this nice looking site, and I think I got distracted and like, I’m not gonna lie, you know, to me, like, come on, Jon. I mean, it’s the real world here. Right.
Jon Bostock 38:29
And I love it. I love it.
Nathaniel Schooler 38:31
I’ll be honest. Yeah, like, we are all under the clock. Yeah, we’ve got we’ve got a clock, right. And it’s ticking, and the pressure is on, right. And you’ve got to do all these things. Have you you got all these things in this this massive, long list of stuff that you’ve got to take care of? Yeah. So yeah. So what what are the what are the products Jon? Come on, give me give me the goods.
Jon Bostock 38:56
First of all, I love I love the honesty, I believe that honesty is the best. And so. And I’ll admit that I haven’t read any of the books behind you in the library.
So look, that’s the other piece of the company. When you think about transparency, when you think about sustainability, clarity of message to consumers. Cleaning is a messy category, not only on the supply chain side, but it’s extraordinarily cluttered. As it relates to the way they clean brands position their products. What they’ve done to try to improve margin is they create specialty cleaners for every single category.
So if you’ve got a stainless steel clients, they make you believe that you need a specialty cleaner for that, if you have granite countertops, they want to make you believe you need a special cleaner for that wouldn’t feel worse. And the list goes on and on. What we say fundamentally, is you only need four cleaners for your entire home. What we’ve observed is there are four formulas that are specific designed for your home, there’s a kitchen type formula. And effectively what that means is it’s a formula with a decreasing agent in it.
We’re non toxic, biodegradable, but that’s really designed for kitchen environments. We have whimsical names for all of our products approachable. So that’s called “Everything in the Kitchen Sink.” The Everything in the Kitchen Sink product truly does that. It works on appliances, it works on every virtually every counter type. It works on anything that you see in the kitchen.
We have a floor cleaner that works on virtually all types of floors. It’s called “Floors Truly” we have “More Showers to You” which works in your bathroom, and is just a phenomenal daily cleaner. I personally use it every single day, I’ve been using it for well over a year and absolutely love it.
And then we have “The glass is always cleaner” which is kind of a ubiquitous cleaner that works on electric devices, as well as glass. And so you know what, what we’re also educating around is this idea that you do not need a cupboard of 50 cleaners, you can simply have four, and you don’t need to store jugs and jugs and jugs of chemicals in your home, when you can just have these little refills in your kitchen drawer. And so we’re really telling a story around simplicity, taking the clutter out of cleaning, taking the confusion out of the category, only simply using four products, they happen to be non toxic and biodegradable. And that’s kind of how we built the company. And that’s what we do. It’s all about transparency and simplicity. And look, could we have charged more for a specialty stainless steel cleaner? Absolutely. So our products.
Just to give you an example, our products are $3 and 75 cents for a 27 ounce product, a specialty cleaner, a stainless steel specialty cleaner trades at around $9 for 27 ounces. So from a business perspective, we would make a lot more money if we propagated the idea of specialty cleaners are needed. So the idea that you need a stainless steel cleaner, you need a special cleaner for granted, because you can make a lot more money. But instead what we chose is to effectively be more transparent, to be honest with consumers to have a discussion around, here’s what you really need. And we’re going to give you the dirty secret is you only need four products.
The dirty secret is that non toxic products actually work. And the other dirty secret is you’re being overcharged because they’re shipping water, and you’re actually hurting the planet while you’re doing it. So that’s part of what we do.
Nathaniel Schooler 42:31
I love it, I think it’s brilliant. That just the sheer honesty of it all, is just it’s just put in a cart, I think it’s fantastic. And launching in the in the UK is a great idea, you know.
Jon Bostock 42:46
And in the first so in the first week, so when we first launched the company, we had visitors from 120 different countries, all via word of mouth, all organic. I would say the number one cause customer service inquiry that came in that first week. By far, I don’t know the exact number, but let’s call it 30% was from individuals in the UK asking for the product to be in the UK. So we know we know that. And by the way, our our standard reply is the US is a lot messier than we thought.
Once we clean up the US, we’re going to go clean up the UK. But you know, and we get some hilarious responses back because I’ll tell you what people in the UK have a phenomenal sense of humor. And I think our brand, I just can’t wait to introduce our brand over there. Because when you do go to our site, you’ll see we love humor, and we let our personalities come through. But yeah, I mean, it’s about I want to say about 30% of the inbound, that kind of that first week was:- “Please come to the UK” And its continued every single day, we average about 30 to 40 unique countries, all through word of mouth. And UK is constantly up there. Obviously, you know, with people like you with the origins so deep and and you know that the lineage that goes back. And and the royalty that is…
Nathaniel Schooler 44:13
That’s why my Dad moved here.
He ran away from America was like 50 years ago, something like yeah, like 50.
Jon Bostock 44:25
Yeah. So so you know, look, I think, you know, it’s an important market. And I think it’s a market that really, that really understands the need to think, to think differently about products.
Nathaniel Schooler 44:39
Well, I think consumers are actually sick of having the wool pulled over their eyes. I know, they’ve, they’ve had enough of just just not knowing, you know, that they really want to know, yeah, like what goes into things, traceability, you know, all these things that used to be like hippie terms, they were like, you know, it was like so smelly guy with like, long hair, you know, didn’t have a job. We used to moan about all sorts of, you know, all sorts of things. But now, it’s kind of it’s totally changed now. And it’s and it’s really mainstream. It’s mainstream, because people are, understanding more.
Jon Bostock 45:17
Yeah, there’s no pride in spraying a toxic cleaner and not being able to breathe. I don’t know, anyone who thinks that that’s being tough for, you know, it’s I think we’re just we’re not smarter as as consumers. You know, I think we, we are asking the right questions.
I think food system is another category we need to ask a lot of questions about. So look, you know, it’s, I love everything about it. And I am so appreciative of people like you who take the time to help our people like me tell the story. And I think that, you know, not only is it about storytelling, and about making sure that people understand how they ended visuals can make a difference. But it’s also reminding people that when you work with anyone, whether it’s when you’re walking in the tube, or when you’re going to a dinner, when you interact with people, they’re humans, and they’re having a tough day, or they’re going through something in their life. And you need to understand that people are just people. And so when you’re running a company, when you’re interacting with a business, remember, there’s a human on the other side. And so our goal should really be to create much better human connections create much better products for people, for real people who actually use them. And so that’s kind of what we’re here to do. And so I’m super appreciative of, of you kind of supporting this and helping us spread the word.
Nathaniel Schooler 46:45
That’s going to be great. You know, this should get in front of a lot of people. So how do people check out your website?
Jon Bostock 46:53
Yeah, so we’re on Trumans.com. Trumans.com is where you learn all about us. And we’ve got great information on there, you can read all about the products, I invite people to read every bit of it, because there’s some really funny lines, and some of the lines are buried, and you actually have to find them. And we did that intentionally. So my co founder and chief marketing officer loves to kind of hide really funny things within sites. And so I invite people to check that out. But yeah, Trumans.com and then, you know, you can you can find us on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook and really stay connected. No, we’re we’re going to be out talking a lot this year about supply chain. So we’ll be in different cities. In fact, on April 22, we’re going to be out sharing a great story with another brand on Earth Day. And that brand is is doing a lot to support US manufacturing. And so we’re partnering with them. So we’re going to be visible we’re going to be hopefully out front meeting a lot of people in person and but would love any support and staying connected at Trumans.com
Nathaniel Schooler 48:07
Very cool. Well, thank you. It’s been it’s been really interesting.
Jon Bostock 48:12
Yeah, thanks so much. I love it.
Unknown Speaker 48:17
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