Don’t let the benign image fool you – Avocados are big business.
Today’s guest, Avocado Shirt Co. cofounder Rob Russo, represents the tip of the spear when it comes to avocado and guacamole-branded merchandise. A legion of ‘guac’ fans has discovered the upstart shirt company in a big way. And lots of those discoveries were made on social media, including Pinterest.
Indeed, Rob’s company has grown in a big way since he and a business partner attempted to turn an idea – selling, and celebrating, guacamole and other avocado-related gear – into reality using the Kickstarter website to come up with the initial startup capital. Now the company is selling merch left and right, which just seems to bring out more fans of the green delight.
This isn’t Rob’s first rodeo: Recently, he left his corporate graphic design job to strike out on his own. That sudden freedom, combined with his love for avocados, spurred the creation of his unique t-shirt enterprise. Rob also is a partner in the strategic marketing firm HagerRusso, and also is the marketing director for his and his wife, Jes’ home-based HelloScent.com business.
Since the rise of the Avocado Shirt Co., Rob has found a way to use social media to leverage his product’s inherent popularity. Tune in to see how, using social media, Rob was able to crack the code and curate an excited, engaged fan base.
Besides their online endeavors, Rob and Jes raise chickens together on their homestead, where the couple raise their children while often growing, hunting for, and ultimately processing their own food.
Unfortunately, that food processing does not include avocados – he lives too far north to grow them.
At least he has plenty of guac t-shirts.
Here is a list of questions we discussed:
- What does it mean when you so you “Grow, hunt, and process your own food? (2:06)
- Can you tell us a little about your company, The Avocado Shirt Company, and the Kickstarter campaign you used to help fund it? (3:28)
- You used Kickstarter to see if it was a good idea? (4:58)
- Did you take in more money from you Kickstarter campaign than you anticipated? (5:55)
- So, you started the Kickstarter campaign before you had set up a website? (8:15)
- Do you recommend other small businesses start their own Kickstarter campaigns? (9:15)
- Are there a lot of up-front costs associated with starting a Kickstarter campaign? (10:22)
- How did you get involved with Instagram ‘Instagal’ Susan B. Zimmerman? (12:08)
- Why did you need to use Kickstarter to kick start your t-shirt company? (14:00)
- What was your next step after the Kickstarter campaign and getting your site up and running? (16:07)
- Do you have a visual marketing strategy for Instagram? (17:53)
- Where do you go for design inspiration? (19:54)
- Where do you look for information on niche products? (21:12)
- How often do you post on Instagram? Do you have a set number of posts per day/per week? (23:41)
- Do you think the web is moving toward the ‘visual’ web? (25:26)
- Are you seeing more design work relating to the visual web? (27:31)
- What is the first thing you would tell a small business owner who wants to increase his or her visual marketing? (28:39)
- What are some of your favorite design tools? (29:34)
- Do you think all your visuals need to be in place before you launch? (31:05)
- How do you use Pinterest in your visual marketing strategy? (32:18)
- Are people finding your products on Pinterest? (37:10)
- Are you guys planning on expanding beyond just t-shirts? (38:01)
- What’s the next step for your business? (38:59)
- What advice do you have for guys just starting out on Pinterest? (40:04)
Thanks For Watching And Listening!
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Thanks to Rob for being such a great guest. See you for the next episode where we’ll be adding testosterone, one pin at a time!