Today's guest once cold-emailed billionaire media mogul Mark Cuban, eventually receiving a response that landed him an appearance on popular business TV show "Shark Tank." Zamarin tells me about the six-figure company he built in high school, the importance of finding mentors, how his company, Detrapel, helped fight the coronavirus and so much more.
David Zamarin is 23 years old and is the founder/CEO of Detrapel, a forward-thinking company that manufactures environmentally friendly cleaning products. Detrapal expects revenue of $12 million in 2021.
Zamarin is a serial entrepreneur, with his business dealings extending back as early as five years old. Forbes placed him on the "30 Under 30" list in 2021.
To view clips from the podcast, check out my YouTube channel, or follow me on Instagram @troy_farkas.
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"If you can take $150K and turn that into $300K or more, wouldn't that be better than just sticking with $150K?" - David explains his approach to spending/investing money (17:04)
"I looked at someone who was older and willing to give me advice as a free ticket on what not to do on mistakes that I could learn before making them." - David on the importance of mentors in his life (18:35)
"I'm the master of email. That's what I do. I just email all day long. I think there's no harm...If you can find their email like that, what's the worst is going to happen? (28:09) David on the email from Mark Cuban that changed his life
"I don't want to be the smartest person in the room that says I'm not really doing the right thing. More importantly, you hire people that are going to be efficient and grow the business with you as opposed to for you." - David on hiring older colleagues to help grow Detrapel (37:07)
"Just get started." - David's advice to young entrepreneurs (41:28)
peace and love.
Good morning, everyone. Welcome into another episode of The Troy Farkas Show, a podcast that it's not about me. All of us, the twenties, like crucial time in our lives. And on this show, we navigate the highs and lows of early adulthood together. Joining you today from Boston, Massachusetts Somerville, to be exact back on the East coast, back on the East coast for the foreseeable future, which I'm really glad to be back because I'm a creature of habit of routine.
And I've just been uprooting myself constantly. Over the last few weeks, especially the last few months, my body's out of whack. My routines are out of whack. I, I usually know exactly what I want and need to do when I wake up in the morning, but the last few weeks it has just been wild. So I'm glad to kind of settle down and get back into those swing of things here.
And I'm going camping this weekend. So I'm going to uproot myself again. But after that, I will hopefully get back into the swing of things. So, uh, joining from Ben Sibson's closet of a spare bedroom that he has. So hopefully the sound quality is good for you coming up on today's show. I'm going to talk to an entrepreneur because I just love entrepreneurship.
I love business. I love world changing ideas. I love. Learning about the origin stories of companies, the people behind them. Why did they feel compelled to create a service, a good, a product that helps people what happened in their lives that drove them to do it. And what drives them past all of the complications that are inherent to the entrepreneurial process?
Um, That's what I'm really fascinated in. And so on this show, I just have been wanting to talk to more people that are young, that are in their twenties, that are making things that are changing the world. We talked to Nico Enriquez as a couple of months back CEO, founder, Willie, super brew, a hard seltzer company.
We're going to take a hard left here today and talk to a 23 year old CEO David's Zamarin And he's the CEO/Founder of Detrapel, a company that is dedicated to making cleaning products. With the environment at the forefront. He's a very interesting person, again, only 23, but, uh, he is more, self-aware more mature than any 23 year old I've ever met.
This guy has been making profitable companies since fifth grade, $10,000 in fifth grade six figure deals in high school, the guy's making. And then he is now running a, a company that landed him on the Forbes 30 under 30 list. That landed him in appearance on "Shark Tank," a. Global phenomenon of a TV show.
We're going to talk about all of that stuff today. His story, why he wanted to do this, how his products were critical in helping fight the coronavirus over the past year. It's a really good conversation. He's going to provide some advice for anyone else who wants to scratch their entrepreneurial itch, but doesn't quite know how so without further ado, here's my conversation with David Zamarin.
And I will talk to you the backend.
David. Thank you so much for joining me. So I kind of want to talk about your life story a little bit. So I kind of want to know what was the first entrepreneurial real bug that you caught growing up as a kid. Yeah, unbeknownst to me, I, uh, was pretty entrepreneurial from a very early age. Um, one of the first things I think that made me realize that I was interested in getting in somewhat of a business background was when I was like five years old.
I, uh, my grandmother was making, like, buying popsicles, like from like, I dunno, like dollar store, for example. Right. And, um, we would freeze them. Uh, in hopes of, or at least she was hoping that would be giving them out to my friends on like a hot summer day and little did she know I was actually Simon for like 25 cents a pop in my apartment complex.
So that was kind of like my first experience, but that was a, that was a very unique one. Um, That I, that I, you know, reflect on nowadays, but more or less the first like real time that I really lay high to understanding of what entrepreneurial tendencies were, was when I was going into my sixth grade year in middle school, uh, that fifth grade summer that I had.
Uh, it was kind of like the first time that Facebook marketplace was like a big thing or actually, no, sorry, marketplace wasn't even out yet. It was just when people were selling a lot on Facebook through like, like closed groups and stuff like that. And so, um, you know, for me, when I, when I first kind of started selling.
Uh, items. That was one of the first thing I started in particularly I asked my dad for a hundred bucks as like a, as a loan, as an investor, um, to, to allow me to buy like beats and G shocks the, you know, the popular headphones and that watches at the time. This is like when they were just like at their peak.
And I guess I was like 2000, I think what like 10, um, maybe a little bit earlier. Uh, and so, yeah, I mean, I asked for a hundred bucks. He gave it to me. Uh, I bought my first pair and I flipped it, uh, made it made like a hundred bucks on that and just reinvest all the profits. So the a hundred dollars turned into 10 grand in one summer as a fifth grader.
That was a lot of money for me. And, you know, with my story, with how I started with my grandparents, um, I actually grew up in a, in a very low income background. My parents are both immigrants, they got divorced and I was two. Um, my mom struggled blind. I was forced to live with my. Um, living with my grandparents for the first like five, six years of my life.
And then, uh, yeah, I mean, I made that first kind of call it an investment and had to split half of it with my dad seeing as he was my seed investor. And from there, it kinda, it was kind of history. I was always, um, education focused. So I never let that kind of go out of sight. And that kind of ultimately led me to the first, uh, youth entrepreneurship incubator, but I was a part of a, which is where I started my first real company.
Okay. So a bunch of things that I want to ask you based on that story. Thank you for sharing. All right. $10,000. You split half with your dad. What is a fifth grade kid? Are you doing with that money? Yeah, absolutely nothing good. Um, I pretty much like, I mean, a ring pops. Can you buy? Yeah. Yeah, right. Um, no, I ended up like, I dunno, I was buying like random stuff.
I was, you know, as was a kid. So I don't really know where the money went. I do know that I lost like definitely a couple grand of it, uh, trying to invest in other ideas of my friends. Like for example, one of my friends was really into music and he, I mean, we were like, I don't know, 12, 13 years old. Um, But he was into music and he wants to start like a DJ company in the sense that like, I don't know why, but these were really big and falled off here, which is where I'm from.
Back in the day in the suburbs, kids would go to these like clubs for kids. It was like really dance halls. And you'd have like this DJ there and yeah, it was just, it was no good, but anyway, long story short, my friend wants to open one of those since he was interested in deejaying. Uh, so I, I invested into all the equipment.
We ended up doing nothing with it, like it completely failed and not do anything, um, sort of like a t-shirt company, which actually did okay. But, you know, ultimately it didn't work out, um, so on and so forth. So over the course of the last few, those years, I made a lot of investments that were like very small scale.
But I lost a lot of the money. Um, and then the remaining money that I had, I, um, either bought like random stuff or had a little bit saved. I even like at one point, like, um, someone who I used to call a friend actually stole a thousand bucks from me. Like it was just, yeah, like right out of my house. Um, while I was in the bathroom, like, I mean, just stuff like that.
Yeah. So the money kind of disappeared for a lack of better terms. Dang. Okay. So this is kind of a theme of your whole life. To this point. You've always been a couple years ahead of everyone else that is in your age range. So I'm thinking back to when I was in sixth grade in 2007, 2008, I'm thinking about, okay.
This girl next to me, she's pretty cute. I might have to ask her to the dance. I'm thinking about the new flow, write a song. These are the things that are top of mind for me, but you have this entrepreneurial mindset. Where do you kind of attribute that to? Where did it come from? Yeah, I mean, I'm definitely not, I wasn't different.
Like I, I had all of that going on too, for sure. Um, I think the big difference, uh, that I had was that. You know, I had this really strange upbringing where I saw my parents struggle and particularly my mom, um, my dad was always doing relatively well in business. Um, and so a lot of the business tendencies that I got from him, or at least a lot of the, uh, things that I learned not to do were from my dad.
Uh, and so I give him a lot of credit there. Um, but my mom and my mom's side of the family, it was always like pushing for the absolute best out of me. Like, and still to this day, I'm constantly pushed to Excel and over Excel and overachieve way more than, than I would expect any other person to do. But yeah, I'm very grateful for it because a lot of the pressure I've been able to kind of overcome.
So fast forward a couple of years from that age, 11, 12 to age 15, when you start this company, that's your pal that you are now running to this day. What was the inspiration for you? What was the moment that you said, okay, this is the company I need to do. Yeah. So like I mentioned, I briefly hinted on this youth incubator program that I was a part of, um, when I got into, so.
Tying back into the education. My family was super big on education, my whole life. Um, and when I was in middle school, I happened to get in in sixth grade to one of the most prestigious schools in the country, which is a public school, but it was a magnet school called Masterman. It was downtown Philly and in particular, Every single year, you kind of have to like, essentially just do your best in order to get into the high school.
That was like everyone's goal because the high school and we had 100 kids per grade, and that was a public school. This is like a public magnet school with a million kids in the school district. So it's very competitive. And eventually I actually got into the high school I got in as a freshmen and. Uh, I started thinking about, wow, like, you know, I was really nervous about getting in and if I'm going to be this nervous about high school, how's it going to be when I'm going to be applying for college.
And lo and behold, this, um, poster was passed around for this youth entrepreneurship program. And I applied for it and I was the only non-senior that did it. And the reason why it, like, I guess cultivated me or kind of like caught my eye was because I, I realized that literally all hundred of my peers in my grade.
And I we're identical on paper. We all played varsity sports or, you know, eventually did, uh, at some point, but we all played varsity sports. We all had musical talent except for me. Um, but we were all, uh, cha like, you know, always challenging ourselves and like captains of all these clubs and other academic teams and stuff like that.
So there was nothing really separating us. And for me, For someone who really like business and wanted to go into some sort of business or, or law. And the combination of the two, I realized that that was kind of the, the goal for me was, was to kind of look into, uh, these alternative programs. And once I got into that youth incubator program, one of the first things that we were taught was that entrepreneurship was just literally solving a problem.
And my biggest problem at the time was when I got into my high school, I got 200 bucks from my grandparents as a gift. And I combined that with $200 on my own. And I bought my first few pairs of Jordans. And, uh, when I bought them, I realized, man, these are really expensive for some shoes I'm to be wearing every single day.
So I wanted to come up with some kind of film that could be peeled off whenever they got dirty, but I knew nothing about chemistry. So one of the mentors in the program recommended that I pivot the business to a shoe cleaning company, and that was my first as I call it first real business. All right. So obviously your age 15, when, when you start this, the company evolves and grows over the years.
So kind of, how did it change more so into what it is today from that initial idea of, okay, this is how I want to keep my Jordans. Well, so, you know, I was running the business and I realized that there wasn't really a scalable part. This is a service-based business. We were cleaning and conditioning and repairing shoes for local university sports teams.
And even though at one point it was actually very successful. I was at four months into it, we were making like 25 K a month in revenue and I was alone. There was no one else doing it. And the profit margins were wild because I was just cleaning shoes pretty much with just regular cleaning solutions.
And we had very minimal startup costs. So when I, when we were making the money and seeing the success that we were seeing. I started realizing that this is a great, nice, like cashflow and lifestyle business, but this is not what I'm passionate about. And I'm not interested in cleaning people's shoes at the end of the day.
And so I started thinking about other kind of expansions into the business. And in particular, one of the things that came about in 2013, which was when I was running with your soul, um, was this product that is now a competitor of Detrapel's. Uh, that came out and it was essentially a spray that you could put onto any surface and it would make the surface super hydrophobic, meaning it was super scared of liquids.
And that ultimately was the kind of the answer to the repellency or, or to keeping my stuff clean. Except I bought the product. It was, uh, it was, I bought a core of each coat. There were those like a top coat and a bottom coat and it costs 1600 bucks per core. And I had to buy a full body suit and a respirator mask to apply it.
And I didn't know any of the reasons why I need any of those materials, but ultimately I learned that it was incredibly carcinogenic and will cause birth defects. And it was just a very, very, um, harmful product to use because of the use of fluorinated chemistry or floral chemicals, uh, PFS for short. And, uh, when I started researching, I realized that, you know, this is really what I want to do.
I really want to come up with a product that it's safe to use that really works, and isn't going to cost an arm and a leg for the consumer. So I got the opportunity, very fortunate to sell, lick your soul right at the end of my freshman year of high school. So like you mentioned, I was 15 years old. It was a six-figure offer.
Again, the most amount of money I had ever seen at this point in my life. Um, and I took the opportunity. It was kind of a no brainer for me because I wasn't interested in running that business for a long time. And so I took the offer, uh, and now I had some money to play with. So ultimately what I ended up doing, uh, was researching and contacting a few different labs to come up with.
What is now known as the Lotus leaf effect, um, which is essentially just, there's a leaf in nature that when it comes in contact with water, it literally bubbles up the water and just rolls right off. So I wanted to come up with a Lotus leaf effect, uh, in a chemical spray format that didn't use any floral chemistry or any other toxic chemicals.
And, uh, Again, because I was fortunate to go to this room, competitive high school. One of the other programs that we had was if you were a qualifying student, which pretty much everyone at the school was, we were allowed to take classes as part-time undergrads while in high school. Um, during the evenings, we would take classes at the university of Pennsylvania.
And so for three years, I, I took classes and, uh, during the summers and other times I was doing research at the Singh center for nanotechnology. I was just reading into the researchers there and looking at what they, you know, kind of what they were, um, learning and, and putting out there in publications.
And so ultimately that's kind of how I came up with the initial research for the product and thus led to what is now decibel. So. Two things that I want to ask, first of all, the six-figure sale, uh, again, your 15 years old, if I'm 15 and I come into six figures, there's all sorts of things, all sorts of dumb things I'm doing with that money.
I don't know how you have the self-awareness and discipline at age 15 to not just do something incredibly stupid with it. I think there were three reasons why. One, the money came in traunches. So it was like more of a licensing play when I sold the company. So I didn't have like 150 K all upfront was over the course of like four years, um, with a good portion of it though, coming upfront.
Um, so that was number one, but even with the five figures that I had in, in cash, the one thing that I did do, which was pretty smart was I put aside like maybe 10%. For money that I want to spend and kind of like reward myself. Uh, and I've stuck pretty true to that. I put 10, 10% away again. I mean, while I was like 15 years old, what could I have wanted?
I wanted clothes. I wanted like stupid crap, like that, like name, name, brand stuff, uh, that I used to care about. And I bought those things, uh, which I viewed as a symbol of like, you know, accomplishing something that I was working really hard and hard for. And then the third thing is I was raised super strict.
So like my parents. Um, although they didn't know how much money I made from the sale, my mom was pretty damn strict about like, you know, just in general, not spending the money stupidly and kind of keeping an eye on, on that. And, you know, it was kind of instilled in me like, Hey, if you can take 150 K and turn that into 300 K or more, wouldn't that be better than just sticking with 150 K?
And that was a no brainer question to me. So I was pretty disciplined and I was very fortunate that I had that kind of upbringing that justified that kind of discipline. Certainly not the questions I was in, uh, asking myself 150 K 300 K. You mentioned your mother, I'm just curious. Was anyone really helping you along this entrepreneurial journey?
Was there a guide, a consultant, a mentor, or is this truly a solo? Um, yes and no, like I, no one was hands-on with me. Uh, unfortunately I had to learn kind of through very hard and strategic ways trying to get what I wanted. Um, but yeah, through this youth entrepreneurship program and through the many that I did in high school, I did like, I want to say four or five different programs, maybe a little bit, maybe like, um, and that was over the course of four years.
I learned, I met a ton of people. I had a bunch of mentors. I still to this day have more mentors and I can count on both hands and feet. And I'm regularly in contact with these aren't people that I just, you know, I've met a couple of times, had a couple conversations with and called them my mentors.
These are people that I have literally weekly calls with. In fact, I have one right after this podcast, so, you know what I mean? For me, it was all about. Looking at someone who came into the program or wherever I met them through, you know, networking events or whatever I was doing. I looked at someone who was older and willing to give me advice as a free ticket on what not to do on mistakes that I could learn before making them.
And I was pretty adamant about taking the advice, whether I thought it was right or wrong with my own volition and my own thoughts. And if, and if I was right then great. If I was wrong and I paid the price for it, but I learned. You know, essentially what not to do and what to do a ton of different people from a ton of different mentors over the course of four years.
And ultimately at the end, obviously I was solo founder on both companies, but it ultimately was my team that I built around me that took it to the next level. I'm so glad that you brought this up about mentorship, because whether you're 15, 20, 25, it's so important to recognize what you don't know. And to just ask questions.
A lot of people don't don't want to be made to feel dumb. They don't want to ask for help. They feel like they're annoying. But as I found through my own mentors, and you probably have found this as well, people are willing to help you. People will remember when they were in your situation and didn't know how to handle a, a particular circumstance or situation and they try to help you out.
So I'm so glad that that has worked for you, especially when you're young, right? Like people are willing to help college students or high school students, or post-grads like, if you just throw that card out there, I mean, there's no shame in it. In fact, I think it's dumb not to. Last thing before we get to shark tank.
So you're going to Penn and in high school and working at this company at the same time, you're doing so much, you're probably not leading a normal teenage life. I imagine. Do you feel like you missed out on anything? Do you have any regrets from that period of time in your life? Definitely. No regrets. Um, I.
I say this often, even for my college years, I missed out on my child that would get sad. I sacrificed a lot to do what I am doing. Um, but again, you know, it depends on which way you look at it. Like for me, childhood consisted of like, I was an athlete my whole life. So I played sports, you know, pretty much throughout my entire life and that's, to me, it was awesome.
I love that. Um, that I, you know, that I hang out with friends. Yeah. I hung out with friends, but we were constantly working on. Our respective things and, uh, trying to figure out, you know, if my friend was interested in games, I was interested in maybe playing an hour games, but yeah. Everything else. Other than that, I was just researching about what I wanted to do and stuff like that.
So, you know, it's each their own, but I think you have to just find the commonplace language with everyone. So for example, if I had friends that were completely not interested in entrepreneurial things, that was fine, I could still easily hang out with them or, or be friendly with them, uh, whilst the working in my own things, because I didn't have to talk about what I was doing.
I can talk about what they're doing and focus on my stuff at the same time. Um, But no education is super important. My athletics were important and I was doing at one point, I mean, freshman year I did like 12 clubs, which was crazy. I would never recommend that. But, uh, towards the end I was doing like roughly three or four clubs per year or, or I guess for my senior year, um, maybe maybe five.
Um, but those were things like mock trial debates, stuff like that, all in which, you know, I found a passion, so it never felt like it was a lot of work for me or anything like that. It wasn't drained. Like I enjoyed what I did. On top of building the business and keeping my grades up and being an athlete.
So, you know, I, I think, uh, I think it's doable. I just think people are afraid to challenge themselves more, you know, more than they do. And, you know, there are many things I did sacrifice. Yes. I didn't have much of a social life. Like I didn't, I wasn't also interested in that stuff. I wasn't interested in like going out to parties and drinking.
I had no interest in any of that. Um, I was just interested in what I found fun. That was it. Nothing wrong with that at all. So, uh, good for you. It sounds like your high school years were, uh, were not what most of us envisioned your high school years to be, but otherwise awesome. Serving you. Well now, 2018 shark tank.
So I'm in the media business. I worked at ESPN and a lot of people would ask me about, Oh, is this person really like this? Oh, how did. Uh, how, how does this work? All of like behind the scenes info that you have. So I don't know anything about shark tank and the TV production of it. So I'm curious if you can break the fourth wall as we call it in the media and just kind of let us know what was that process like?
How do you get on the show? How many steps is it? All of that stuff? Yeah, it's pretty, it's pretty rough. I mean, it's, there, there are 40,000 applications every year to the show, as they say, and only 150 are invited to film. And out of the one 50 that film 90 of those air. So it's pretty cutthroat. Um, again, uh, kind of tapping into our previous topic about, you know, reaching out and asking for help.
When I was, I guess I was still 15, actually, when I officially incorporated Detra pals, couple of months away from being 16. Um, but I started desperate pal. I kind of, uh, created the website and all this and did my initial MVP launch in February of 2014. And that same timeframe. I cold emailed. I, I was learning how to data mine and do a perfect kind of email crafting and stuff like that.
And so I called him and Mark Cuban and he responded, and that was how I got on initially. So he, he responded and I kind of sent a follow-up email saying like, you know, thank you so much for responding. Kind of wrote way too long of an email, but he read it. And in the end I also said that I wanted to, I was considering being on shark tank because it was kind of like a lifelong dream of mine.
I was always watching it when I was young, when I was a kid. Um, so he immediately like sees communication. Cause you're not allowed to have any communication with the sharks prior to, and introduce me to, uh, the casting producers. Who followed my story for about four years, they were constantly asking me like, am I going to be applying this here and stuff?
And, um, I wasn't ready to apply up until 2017 when I thought it was a good time for the company and where we were. Um, and I did that. And once we, once we applied. There was like, you know, an initial application process. I think we were fast track though, on a couple of items, just because of the nature of how I was getting on the show through the, through the connection of Mark, um, and to the main casting producer, Mindy, uh, and from there, I think, you know, it was really brutal.
There was. Several video submissions. We have to do like pretty much either one talking about the company or to giving like a practice, dry run over the pitch. Um, at one point they actually told me I was rejected, which was also literally, I think it was the day before, the day after I was like one of the days, like right before, um, my best friend passed away.
So it was a horrible time. And, uh, Yeah, they, they told me I was actually rejected, uh, which I didn't know why. And so I went, um, I was in Philly because of my, my best friend who passed. And I came back up here for an accelerator program that we were part of, uh, that year. And so when I got to the accelerator program, literally like the next day I showed up, there was an open casting call in Cambridge, mass.
And so I, it was kind of a no brainer. I just went to the, to the casting call, um, and said, Hey guys, I have an active application in, but I want to, I know you guys, you know, giving me a pass, but I just wanted to show that, you know, here we are, the companies, you know, fine, and this is what we want to pitch.
And, uh, I did the pitch. I went in about seven or 10 days. I don't remember exactly. Uh, before following up, and then I got a call, like I sent a follow up email in two minutes later, I got a phone call and myself from California saying, Hey, uh, these are your two like category producers or whatever. Um, and you were actually, we really apologize.
You were actually accepted at first, but because you changed your application, there was a minor thing I had changed about who was going on at the time. Um, we thought that you were actually dissolving the company, so we rejected you. I was like, Oh no, no, we're alive and well, like we're definitely out working.
And so she, and they were like, yeah, well, you're on. And we'd love to have you. And you know, uh, we'd love to have you come film in August or whenever it was September, um, which was in 2017. And then I filmed, uh, went through the due diligence process with the sharks, which was brutal also, um, a lot of work.
And then ultimately the episode aired in January of 2018. Two key takeaways from that story, which is amazing. Thank you for sharing that one. The cold email. I am a big proponent of the cold email because of what is the absolute worst that can happen. Worst thing that happens is no one responds and you're like, Oh, well I wasted three minutes crafting that email and that person didn't respond.
But Mark Cuban responds to it. When his, whatever his email@example.com comes into your inbox, what was your reaction? Yeah, I, for lack of better terms, like I shot my pants. Like it was crazy because this is like my idol, right? This is what I grew up watching and seeing on shark tank. And you know, when you're, when you're younger, especially you start realizing or you start, you think that, you know, these people are like figure heads that are untouchable, like they're celebrities.
Right? Exactly. I got the email and I, I was just, I was shocked and now I kind of held it tight to me. Cause I didn't, you know, I wasn't gonna run around and say, Hey, I got an email from Mark Cuban or anything, but, but, um, You know, it was what it meant to me was that one people are willing to help. And two, there's no reason I should not be doing this to anyone and everyone I think needs an email.
And so I became like, that's kinda what I was known for and kind of, I think still am is like, I'm the master of email. That's what I do. I just email all day long. That's all I do. Um, so yeah, I mean, I think there's no harm. Like you mentioned in cold emailing anyone let alone someone, if you can find their email like that, what's the worst is going to happen.
They're not going to answer or they'll say no, it's fine. Yeah. So when you were on the show, just kind of disrupting that, that taping, what was going through your mind as you are pitching it to Mark Cuban, your idol, and the other sharks on the show. Well, it's funny that you asked that. So a couple of days before you actually film in front of the charts, which they don't know anything before you walk out, like it's a real show.
Yes. It's reality TV, but it's real. You walk out, it's a real pitch. You're actually, you know, actively looking for money. Um, I, it was funny a couple days before we filmed officially. I, uh, had to do a dry run in front of like 150 of their producers was a huge room. And this is a pitch I practice like all the time because I, I did a lot of pitch competitions in high school.
Um, And college too. And so this is a two minute scripted part, right? The only part that's scripted is when you walk in, you say, hi, my name is X, Y, and Z. I'm looking for X percent for Y or I'm looking for X dollars for Y percent of my company, blah, blah, blah. So that is the only part that like 45 second blurb is the only part that's scripted.
Um, So I walk in to the producers, I'm ready to give my dry run of my pitch, which has been also peer reviewed by my category producers, um, or whatever. I have to keep forgetting what they were actually called, but the two that were actually assigned to my company. And I completely forget everything after my name.
Like I literally just say, hi, my name is David's mom. I forget everything. I've completely blank. And it's the first time that's ever happened to me. Uh, on the biggest stage or, you know, bout to be the biggest stage of my entire career at the point at that point. And I had done the pitches to even more people than 150 in the audience.
I don't know what happened, but I just, it just, it just couldn't click for me. And so, uh, I freaked out. Right, right then and there, I was like, Oh my God, I'm so sorry. And so I literally read off the paper. I. Couldn't remember the ditch. Um, but that night I was so pissed at myself that I went home. I didn't even explore LA with my first time ever on the West coast.
I still haven't been back to California since then. Um, and, and I didn't even bother going out or seeing the city or anything. I just sat in the room and practiced all day long. And then I like went outside on the busy streets and just wanted to get distractions in while refreshing the pitch. So literally I think it was like 24 hours of just straight up, just rehearsing the pitch to the point where.
Like two days after, when you're supposed to go for the live thing. Um, I was sitting and I could, I thought things couldn't go worse. Right? Like I, the woman who pitched before me and my segment, uh, was like three and a half hours long, which is way over the average time period. Um, so I was pushed to the evening.
It was like five or six o'clock. It was already dark, uh, in Cali. Which meant on East coast time, I was three hours ahead. So this is like, I don't know, maybe nine o'clock or so. Um, I'm like tired. I go to bed pretty early, you know, I wake up early, so I'm getting pretty tired. Um, and you know, I'm thinking that they cannot go any worse, cause they're going to have to reinvite me again a different time because the last day of filming, um, but lo and behold, I'm like the last person that they filmed that day.
Um, And so I ended up getting in front of the sharks and right before I walk out, I like did a couple of jumping jacks and boom. I just walked out there and killed it. Didn't didn't even stutter. It was perfect. Perfect pitch. Let's go. Well, that perfect pitch led you to getting, uh, some investments from the sharks.
So after the investments and after the appearance, what did that do for your company? Yeah. I mean, we didn't end up closing them at the end, fortunately, uh, which is actually the majority of deals that happen on air. They don't actually close. Um, we were one of those companies, but the good thing is, is that we got all the publicity and all the press and everything that we needed.
Uh, all the customers that day, we had one of the more successful episodes of the, of the, um, of the season. And with that, we had a ton of orders, but in the first couple of nights, it was, uh, $300,000 in revenue on our website alone. And that doesn't include Amazon or anything else. And with that said, we realized, wow, like this is a, you know, this is a huge opportunity for us, um, to capture these customers and kind of turn them into life cycle customers, where we have them for the rest of their lives.
And so the first thing that it did for us after giving us some breathing room with Capitol was it allowed me to hire my first real staff members. It was no longer going to be a bunch of college kids or a bunch of 20 year olds, uh, trying to run the business. I hired my first. Full-time individual who was in his mid thirties, which was my CFO and then so on and so forth, we hired more and more people.
And ultimately, um, we hired until, uh, I mean we kept hiring. And then in August of that year, we had, uh, my, my COO joined, who was a mentor at a different entrepreneurship program that I was in. An accelerator program. Uh, and after that, that was like the first gray here that we hired as I like to call him.
He'll flip out. I mean, for saying that, but that's how it was. He was the first person who had both blacks under his belt had previous experience and, um, really kind of knew what, you know, what he was doing. And so after that, Uh, if the average age slowly shifted from, you know, like 20 to 23, maybe 25 or 26 to closer in the forties.
And then we just kept hiring and hiring and hiring, um, individuals that were really experienced. And, you know, the that's where I, I say that business turned into a company. I want to come back to that in one second, hiring older, older people and getting them to respect you. But first 2020 happens a major public health crisis coronavirus around the world.
What did Detra Pell do in that moment to help pitch into this thing worldwide, that was changing our lives. Yeah. I mean, we had an interesting, um, kind of dilemma in front of us because we had just raised our seed round of a million bucks a couple months prior, and we were getting ready to, you know, get out there and start selling some of our core products and really push it out to the market.
Um, and of course the pandemic hit and we were like, well, we could either sink or swim. And I asked her with how the not want to think. So the first kind of thing that we discussed was pivoting to products that had a shortage in market. And primarily that was disinfectant for us. Uh, we launched distance that we launched other products too, but this in fact that primarily was our, was our main kind of a call to the, to answer the, um, the storm, so to speak.
Um, we, we were thinking about launching cleaners and disinfectants to compliment our existing line later in the year. And so it was kind of a natural fit for us. Cause we're, you know, a chemical manufacturer, it's what we do. And we do everything in house. We don't outsource literally a single thing of our operation.
Um, and because of that, we had the mobility to move quickly and pivot to disinfectants. And so that's what we did, um, for the first, or I guess second half of the year in 2020. Um, yeah. And, and that kind of kept us afloat and helped us flourish a little bit, uh, and, and ultimately gave us. Even more capital and, and more, uh, assets on the balance sheet to be able to continue growing the company and expand the way that we have.
That's awesome. I want to say on behalf of everyone, thank you for, for answering the bell and, uh, hello? Yes. Thank you. We appreciate that. Um, all right. So back to you guys, hiring. Much older people, much more experienced people. I found that from some people that I've talked to, that there we do feel as young people is sometimes a sense of imposter syndrome.
That we're the young person in the room that, you know, this person is older than me. This person makes more money than me. This person has more experience than me, and that can be overwhelming. We feel like we don't belong are ran over our heads. There's all this self doubt that creeps in. So now you are in the room.
With people who have all of those things and you don't, what was that like for you? Well, I think in general, hiring a real team is very humbling. Um, there are two main components that, to that question, I think the first thing is, and I'll preface it with, with this point and then I'll say something much different, but I'll preface it by saying at the end of the day, I'm still the one that hired them.
So. You know, whether these people are very experienced or not, they're still coming to work under the division or whatever that I've established. Right. So keep that in mind. And now shift to the second part of that answer, which is you hire people for a reason, right? You hire people that are a, should be smarter than you.
I like, I don't want to be the smartest person in the room that says, you know, I'm not really doing the right thing. Um, And, and to more importantly, you hired people that are going to be efficient and grow the business with you as opposed to for you. And so I think there's a big difference when you phrase it that way.
And you realize that you've put these people in place to learn from them and have them implement, you know, their experiences and their practices over the last, however many years I've had experience with. And then on top of that, Still stay true to yourself, knowing that, Hey, like this is still your vision and you still have an idea of where you want to go with this thing and it's okay.
Not to always take, you know, all of the advice. Um, and that's not always the case. Like you just have to have really good communication skills with your team and, and that's difficult to have, especially when you have, like, you mentioned older individuals, like my R and D staff, my chief research officer and his wife.
Who's a senior chemist here. Um, we relocated them out of Ohio. Where they were at for like 20 something years. And he was VP of R and D at multiple organizations. He was like, you know, top management and, uh, companies like Rust-Oleum and, and Sharon Williams and stuff like that. I mean, these are multi-billion dollar organizations for a chemist who is literally world renowned.
He's like one of the polymer chemistry, and specifically in his space, he's, he's got some of the largest, uh, products that you can think of on, on the shelf. He's the one that developed them. He came to us. He was a consultant for us for awhile, but he came to us a little over a year ago and said, Hey, do you guys want us to relocate?
I actually a year and a half ago. Um, do you guys want us to relocate? We love what you're doing, what you're doing, and we'd love to be a part of it. They were willing to drop their lives for the past 25 years in Ohio, where they're from with their families and everything and prom relocate. It's a Boston, Massachusetts, and arguably as cold as Ohio, um, towards the later half of their careers.
And so, um, that's a good example. The co co example I gave earlier is another good example. When those things start to add up, you start to realize that one you're on the right path to something and that maybe your vision actually makes sense, and you're not as crazy as you thought. And so once you start realizing that, um, Yeah, you become a little bit more comfortable in your own skin, around other people who have quite a lot of experience and can teach you not just a thing or two, but a few things.
That's awesome. I think a lot of people, especially at this point in our lives, we have a lot of ego to us. We think we know everything. And, uh, and I was there too. That was the hardest thing for me, was getting over that hump when I was, and that's why, you know, I'm a huge and sorry that I cut you off. I'm a huge proponent.
That people get started as soon as possible because young entrepreneurs it's natural. If you see some success, especially when you're 15, 16, 17 years old, I mean, what else could you expect out of a 15 to 20 year old? Who's got a couple of hundred thousand bucks in the bank to his name, right? They're obviously going to have a little bit of an ego, if not a lot.
And so I was fortunate that I went through that early. I burned a lot of relationships because of that, uh, which I ultimately can't, hopefully, at least to, most of them came back later on and said, Hey. Know, I'm sorry for that. I was much younger. I've learned from that. Um, but you you've gotten that out of the way and you've made those mistakes in the past.
So that's a very, very important thing. Like Vigo is going to get there at one point or another people will get an ego because they'll feel, they'll feel on top of the world and that's fine, but people need that. People need that feeling. It's okay. The important part is wanting to recognize when you've hit that point and to come back.
And, and kind of, I don't want to say I apologize, but you know, kind of reflect and try to fix any issues that you may have caused if you had, if you did, or B, just understand that that's not necessarily going to get you to where you want to be in the future that might have gotten you to where you are now.
Um, but at some point you're going to need to pivot and build the people around you, as opposed to just building up yourself. So last question, David, you kind of just alluded to it, some advice for, for younger entrepreneurs. My question to you is what would you say to someone who's 15, 20, 25, whatever has an idea percolating in their minds wants to get started.
Doesn't quite know how needs a little kick in the butt too. My best advice is just to do it, just to get started. The best thing that you can do as a young entrepreneur is get started as soon as possible. Because one, like we've mentioned, most of the times people are willing to help you. And to more importantly, if you, if you mess up, it's okay, people will forgive you and people will be fine with you kind of, you know, coming back later on and saying, Hey, I was much younger.
Can you help me now or whatever. And people are always going to be willing to help at that, at that stage. So with that said, starting as early as possible is some of the best advice I can possibly give, because if anything goes wrong, you still have a safety net to fall back on, which may be your parents, your grandparents, or wherever you're living, right?
At least you have a roof over your head. You don't have a family. You don't have a mortgage, not car payments. You can still, technically not everyone's situation is the same, but for the most part, you can still live comfortably. And whatever your definition of that is if you fail and that's okay. While the stakes are low, I fully fully agree with that.
David, thank you so much for joining me today. It's been awesome. Hearing your story. You guys are doing amazing work work. That is fundamentally changed the way that. The environment, uh, change the way cleaning products, help the environment and, uh, and all that good stuff. So, David, thank you for joining me.
And I look forward to, uh, sending you some emails soon. Thanks for having me
coolest. He and how awesome was that conversation? There's so many great takeaways from what he and his company did to help combat the coronavirus. We are. I'm sincerely grateful for everything that David and Detra Pell did to help us through this difficult time. The advice that he gave to young, aspiring entrepreneurs.
I love that you just got to do it, whether you think you're ready or not, you got to do it. And I love what you said about mentorship. It's so important. No matter what, right? Status, you reach to always have someone else to look up to, to have someone else that you can go to, to ask questions, to, to pick the brains of that's really important, no matter how much success that you experienced.
It is something that I still do, no matter how successful I am in my career, or if I need guidance personally, I still go to people because I know that I don't have it all figured out. So it's so important to find a mentor and shout out to David, um, for doing that and shout out to him for. You know, being content with he's worked a lot and he's grinded and he, maybe he didn't miss out on some things, but he doesn't regret it.
And I fully respect that because you can't live life, uh, with regrets. So I do hope you enjoyed the episode if you enjoyed it and you really want to spread the love about it. Go over to the trademark show on Apple podcasts, leave the show a five star review, tell us what you think or what you didn't like.
Uh, that would be. Super cool of you to do TheTroyFarkasShow.com is your one-stop shop for blogs, podcasts, videos. You can follow us at the Troy Farkas show on Tik TOK on Instagram. We're promoting some stuff from the show over there. So if you're a diehard fan of the show, which I hope you are. You can connect with us there.
You can DM me on any of those accounts. On my personal accounts, on the website, you can contact us on YouTube. You can leave comments, a whole litany of ways for you to get in touch with me, but I hope you all have a great week. And then you get outside that you, um, Do something fun. Go to a coffee shop, maybe get some oatmeal getting
I've been on a real big SIU bull kick drove a little protein in there and maybe a little almond butter, some cashews, some pecans, fuck me up, all that good shit. So I hope you all have a great weekend and that you just be with your loved ones and, uh, enjoy the podcast. And. Keep coming back for more so that's enough for me.
I'm off to the mountains. Hopefully I don't get lost or eaten by a bear or anything like that, but I'll tell you about it when I come back. So peace out. Y'all have a good week.