In this week’s episode, Allan speaks with Torii Rowe, Co-Founder, and COO of MANSSION, a top-selling men’s jewelry brand. Torii is a marketing expert, who taught himself Facebook ads through YouTube. Torii gives simple tips on things he learned early on as an entrepreneur, with digital marketing through Facebook ads. Allan and Torii also discuss how business partners play an important role in business growth. One key factor is focusing on areas of weakness, so your business can improve faster. This is an episode you don’t want to miss!
Allan has started and grown several multi million dollar businesses, his mission is to help you do the same. Welcome to the Business Growth Pod, building the future one entrepreneur at a time.
You don’t have to learn everything all at once. You need to find your weakest point and learn how to move that up to the same bar as everything else. You don’t need to be, you know, an expert in everything. I think as an entrepreneur, especially as an owner, you don’t need to be an expert, because you’re going to hire the experts. That’s the goal of employees have to hire people smarter than you who can work for you, and tell you the next good steps to take those people who have those specialties. But like we said, you have to understand enough so finding those weak points along the way. And just learning enough to get it to that next level, you’ll slowly start to develop that knowledge, I think to really understand your business as a whole.
Hey, everyone, welcome to the show. I’m Allan. I’m a family man and attorney and an entrepreneur. Each week, we provide resources and advice to help build your business. Are you ready? Then let’s go.
Everyone, welcome to the show today. My guest is a former police officer. He’s the co founder and COO of MANSSION, which is a top selling men’s jewelry line. And he’s just an overall good guy. And I think we have a lot to learn from him today. And I have some ideas about where this is gonna go. And I’m very excited about it. So anyway, welcome to the show. Torii, how’s everything going?
Going? Well, going? Well, we got some good weather out here in Denver this week. So you know, can’t complain. So thank you for having me. I appreciate the opportunity to speak to you.
Yeah, absolutely. Tell us a little bit about what you’ve done in your professional career, where you’re from, what led you from, you know, being a police officer into starting a business and things like that?
Yeah, so I’m originally from Phoenix, Arizona, I grew up in Glendale, actually, if you know where that’s at, at all, where the Cardinals play and stuff like that. So I grew up there my entire life. 27 years in Arizona, I wanted to become a police officer, basically, my entire life. My dad was a cop for 30 years. So it kind of followed in his footsteps. So when I was 24, I became a police officer for the Glendale Police Department went out there. And during that time, you know, I loved being a cop and everything like that, I always have this competitive drive and always kind of wanted to take this next step into entrepreneurship, spoke to my best friend at the time for us, and also the other co founder spoke to him and we wanted to take the jump in in early 2000 or late actually 2017 we decided to start a men’s accessories brand men’s jewelry brand, which is now matching.
Awesome. So what is it like having a partner having a business partner? What are some of the goods, what are some of the bads?
I have a lot of goods, thankfully, I’ve got two partners, actually, which is awesome. I have another partner named Yogi who joined us a little later in the journey. But I’ve been lucky that both my partners are friends first. And I was originally a little worried about it, you know, thinking there could be some issues there. But, you know, they’re both very level headed, and we can always, you know, bounce ideas off of each other. And if we don’t agree, everyone can take that feedback pretty well, without getting upset with each other. You know, I’m a data driven person, I’m not very creative, I don’t make any of our designs, so I can’t take any credit for that. So having those two guys on the other side of the fence has helped us a lot helped us tremendously, we’d be nowhere without those two. So, you know, without partners, I don’t think I would be nearly to the stage that I’m at now, if I even still be doing this at all.
Yeah, and I get that a lot. I have quite a few different business partners in the different industries that I’m involved in. And I always hear people ask me, like, how’s it working with partners because I’ve never wanted to have a partner I’ve heard it’s terrible. I hear you just fight all the time and disagree. And that’s the thing is that it’s tough man it is. I’m type A I like to have my way and, and things like that. But I like you would not be anywhere close to where I am professionally. In my businesses without my partners. They add so much in ways that I can they have skill sets that I just don’t have. And I could have maybe found somebody that I could have paid to fit into those positions, but it would have been completely different. There wouldn’t be the passion. I wouldn’t have this, you know, ongoing partnership that, you know, my partners don’t stop like an employee would when they clocked out or whatever. So that’s awesome that you guys have had that type of success. And it’s been, what did you say about four years now that you’ve been in business?
The idea came in 2017. And we launched an Indiegogo or a crowdfunding campaign in early 2019. So our first full year of business was actually last year 2020. But yeah, I agree with you, 100%, you know, having partners and having someone who can kind of humble you to, at certain points, you know, when you’re a little off your rocker, you know, maybe you’re like, Hey, you know, what we should spend X amount of dollars on, you know, x, y, z, they’re like, You’re insane. And you know, that might start up that fight, but an employee is not going to tell you that they’re going to just let you do it try to do and, you know, those partners can help you from making mistakes, we still make mistakes, that definitely happens. But you know, those mistakes are far less than few in between having partners, in my opinion.
Yeah, for sure. So tell me a little bit about you mentioned that you’re not really in the design aspect of the business. Tell me a little bit about what your role is, and how that role has developed since you guys first started?
Yeah, so you know, originally, my role was just form a company with someone made for us came up with that, and, you know, started managing started drawing on paper, kind of what we wanted to do. And it actually came from a document called water bottles, and it actually stemmed from hydro flask. I don’t know if you’re familiar with hydro flask, but yeah, sure, yeah, they were formed 2009. And then we were like, these people can recreate, you know, water bottles, or thermoses, and basically just forming a new 100 $200 million company. So my initial role was obviously, you know, just kind of build up the business. And now it’s turned into, you know, data logistics and stuff like that. And I have no background, I have no college degree or anything like that no business, you know, previously. And so I actually learned Facebook ads on my own through YouTube, like to call it YouTube University. So still use that to this day to to learn and stuff like that. And so I learned Facebook ads on my own, and learned how to do that, because it was too expensive to hire someone else. And that was basically my role. And last year was, you know, trying to scale us through Facebook, logistics, all that kind of stuff. And actually, next week, we hand off our Facebook ads, and I no longer do it, we’re going to an agency. So my role is going to develop again next week, actually, so continues to change.
That’s awesome that you taught yourself that. And it’s actually going to be very helpful, even though you’re handing that off, because it’s a lot more difficult for that agency to kind of let stuff slide because you know so much about it now. And digital marketing agencies, at least in my experience, you have to keep your eye on you really do they require management, and it’s nice that you’re going to be able to free up some of your time. But that experience of learning Facebook ads, that’s huge man, that’s, you know, that’s going to help you just kind of keep track of everything you understand it. And when you understand something, it’s a lot easier to manage.
Yeah, I agree with you. 100% it’s been priceless for us, you know, and to be able to not have to pay someone for the last year to do that has been huge. Those digital marketing companies, they can get expensive, real quick. Sales 10% ad spend, you know, it adds up pretty quickly. So it’s been nice to manage that cash flow and really, you know, invest that in other places in the business.
Yeah, love it. And 10% honestly, isn’t bad. I’ve Yeah, I’ve paid more than that. So that’s awesome, man. So what was it about Facebook ads? Why did you guys decide to go that route as opposed to some other, you know, form of digital marketing or social marketing, social media marketing? Why Facebook? Yeah, I
think there’s a couple companies who we kind of modeled our business after and it would probably be I think movement watches is the first one I don’t know if you’re familiar with Yeah. Yeah, J Cass and Kamala plant, they kind of formed the beginning of ecommerce, in my opinion. And we kind of modeled after them. They did the Indiegogo campaign, they crushed it, I think they did, like 300,000 over two campaigns compared to us. And then Pura Vida bracelets as well. Griffith, and I can’t remember the other guy’s name, but they came in to and they did the same exact model, and they crushed it with Facebook ads, it was a little different back then, obviously, your cost per acquisition was a lot lower. There wasn’t everybody on the platform like there is now. But it was just something where we knew we could control it, you know, with influencers and stuff like that. You don’t have as much control, you’re depending on other people. So we knew if we went to Facebook ads or Instagram ads route, we knew we could monitor this data and say, Hey, we can change XYZ to get this result or, you know, whatever it needs to happen. We were in total control of that.
So what was your first step in learning about Facebook ads? It sounds like you had this awesome experience being a police officer and you know, you didn’t really get a degree from a university and digital marketing. or whatever? What was your first step, man? And was it daunting? Did you at times feel like, you know, nervous whether you can handle it?
Yeah, so funny enough, we actually hired a guy, we were like, Hey, we’re gonna, we’re gonna give this a 30 day run. And he was like, well, the other two for 2000 bucks a month, and we were paying everything out of pocket, we’re like, this is too expensive, someone’s got to learn it, I’m gonna take it on. And the way I took it on was not with our own cash, actually, I actually went on a deed. And I started finding jobs who needed Facebook advertisers, and I would reach out to these companies and say, Hey, I’ll do it for 1/3 of the price that you’re asking for if I can work remote. So I was working a full time job. And I was doing these like side jobs with other people’s money to try to learn Facebook ads. So it was a little hacky, a little growth hacky to learn, because we need to learn with someone, someone else’s money, because we didn’t have the money to learn. And luckily, I didn’t perform too bad for these companies. Because whatever I needed to learn, you know, you go on YouTube right away, and you’re like, hey, how do I do lead generation on, you know, on Facebook ads, how do I do this on Facebook ad, and you can learn it very quickly, it might have taken me more time. But that was my first initial step. And I was to be honest, I was scared out of my mind that I was just going to lose 1000s of dollars for these people. But it worked out. Okay. And you know, we’re in a good position now. So it’s, it’s been great.
That’s awesome that you, I mean, that’s a great idea. Because the best form of education is actually doing something, I have an advanced degree that I don’t use very much anymore. And I’m actually not a huge proponent of like higher education. Unless you want to be like a veterinarian or some specific job that requires a degree. That’s different, but especially for entrepreneurs, they asked me a lot, hey, should I go to college? And I get the question here, are you going to tell your kids to go to college, and I think that depends, because there’s so much information out there, you can learn so much. I didn’t know much about corporate finance, until I started a business and it became very relevant to me. And I’ve taught myself corporate finance, you know, at a level where I know more than somebody that’s graduating in a degree, at least on the applicability side, right, how it’s applicable. So given us a couple of tips, I wasn’t gonna, I wasn’t planning on going this direction. But give us a couple of tips about you know, what somebody can do in social media marketing, or, or just a couple of things that you learn super early on with Facebook. Okay, so
super early on in Facebook, I would say, when you don’t have a lot of money to spend, one thing to do is there’s a thing called Facebook ads library, you can actually see what other companies are running. It just came out about two, three years ago. And you can go on there and you can view your competition, you can see what they’re they’re doing. And we still do this. We did this early on, we still do this now. You know, I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel here. So learn from your competitors. If you see them doing something, and they’re repeating that process with multiple ads. It’s obviously working for them. Try not to copy it exactly. Do whatever you want. There’s no guidelines on it, you know, but if it’s working for them, try to do something very similar to that. Because why spend $10,000 trying to learn what’s working, just copy what they’re doing and don’t reinvent the wheel and try to do it better. That’s one good tip. And then the second good tip, I would say is consolidate things. Don’t overcomplicate it, don’t try to do hundreds and hundreds of things at once. I still struggle with that problem. To this day, I try to do too much try to test too many things. Keep it simple. Just like everybody says in business. Everybody’s heard of kiss. Keep it simple, stupid. It is something that is applicable to all things in life, including Facebook ads, keep your prospecting campaigns, your engagement retargeting, just keep your three funnels, keep it clean, don’t overcomplicate it, that’s the biggest thing with Facebook and get very complicated very quickly if
you let it. I love this concept of not reinventing the wheel. I think everybody tries to do something different or get super niche or whatever. And there’s ways to do it the right way. But if somebody has already paved the path, then you know, why not kind of go after what they’ve already done. But the question is, how do you know who’s been successful with it? And who hasn’t just Facebook, let you know that.
Let’s just say for example, movement watches, we brought them up earlier. They’re a company that we could look at and say, hey, these guys are growing. You can see by their social media growth, how fast they’re growing. You could see by influencers, they were growing very quickly, how many ads they’re running, and it’ll tell you there, maybe at 30 ads one month and next month, they’re running 150 ads, you’re like, hey, these guys are growing quickly. You can always tell when these companies grow fast, and it’s also what companies do you look up to what companies do you like I love cuts clothing with Steven Braley. I love Pura Vida bracelets, you know, there’s lots of good companies out there that you can look up to and also some of these companies get bought out for, you know, movements sold for 100 million up front and 100 million on the back end with performance bases. Once you see that you’re like, hey, they’re doing something right, we should probably show up after them and start doing the right thing. So, you know, just like anything, any type of business you’re in, whether it’s real estate, whatever, there’s always people in mentors you can look up to and, you know, try to copy what they’re doing, you know, reinvent it a little bit, do it better if you can, but like you said, No need to pave a new path.
Yeah, exactly. And I think when we in business, we can learn basic business principles or concepts, and then kind of add our twist at our little idiosyncrasies or add our little details to kind of give it flavor or to match our mission or our core values with while keeping those you know, those rock principles or solid principles in place. What’s the difference between did you guys do Facebook ads for both lead gen to get followers? And what’s kind of the mindset between those two different avenues?
Yeah, so funny enough, I still work a full time job and do lead gen. So I actually do lead gen. For a company still, in 35 countries they advertise and lead gen is very different for us. Specifically, we did lead gen when we did our Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, we did it terribly. We didn’t even raise over like $7,000. But it was enough to get our foot in the door in order our first set of products, which is all we were actually going for it. So it worked out for us. We don’t do it anymore. Now it’s just conversion campaigns across the entire platform, we’re trying to get, you know, sales left and right, that’s all we care about. For the most part, when it comes to Facebook ads. The next big thing is like your reach and you know, getting your brand out there your brand awareness. And that is something we’re starting to really dive into influencers, starting to, you know, market with other companies and do that kind of stuff. But Facebook ads for that kind of stuff is getting kind of watered down, we see a Facebook ad every three, if you ever go down on Instagram, every three is a sponsored post, it’s too much we become in tune to just kind of swiped by it. So those influencers mean so much. And that trust value comes in to lead gen is kind of dead in the e commerce space, in my opinion.
Gotcha. So tell me a little bit about the mentality of, Hey, I’m gonna teach myself this. I don’t know anything about it. With entrepreneurs, they’ll get into a business a lot of times because they’re familiar with the industry, right? My first business was in pest control in Home Services. I was an attorney. And so I had to learn all these things about the pest control industry. You know, most people, their technicians are they’re already working in the industry. And they have to learn about business, right? They have to learn about accounting, they have to learn about hiring, and they have to learn about, you know, risk management, all these things. And so that’s one thing that stops people from starting a business is they’re, they’re afraid of the unknown. So, I mean, I’m impressed with you. I think that’s awesome that you’re just like, you know what, Facebook ads, let’s go because I’ve dabbled in social media marketing, and you got to be careful because you can lose money real quickly. So tell me about that mentality. Was there ever a point where you’re like, Hey, I don’t know if I can do this? Or this seems, you know, too nuanced for me or for you? Did you just say, Hey, I’m gonna learn it, whatever happens happens.
Yeah, I think I’ve always kind of had that mentality. I think it kind of comes from my parents to be honest. And a lot of it is just that competitive drive. I feel like and always wanting to learn whether I’m in business or whether I’m in something else, I want to learn I want to be better, whatever I do, and so for me learning Facebook ads was just one small part I had to learn logistics, I had to learn about jewelry. How does How do you play 18 karat gold? How does 95 Australian silver, you know, made what’s inside of it, all these kind of things you got to learn? I’m still doing that to this day. I wouldn’t even say just me, I’d say it’s all three of us, Miyagi, and for us all take this kind of approach to things as we know, we could hire someone to do our customer service. We’re a multimillion dollar company. If we wanted to hire somebody to do customer service, we could. But we still act like customer representatives. And we are the only three people who answer customer service emails, we want that feedback. We could offload our social media, but we want to learn how do hashtags work? How’s the insights work? How does all this stuff work? logistics, all these things. We wanted to learn as much as we could and get up to par where we could understand enough where when we do offload this to someone else, which is about the point we’re at right now. We’re uploading a lot of things that we can give them feedback, and we can also understand what they’re telling us and not just saying, hey, you’re the expert. Go run with it. If I hand it off, like you said earlier on, if I hand it off Facebook ads and someone comes back and says hey, we’re doing a great job. You have a two row and we’re like okay, perfect, great keep running because I don’t know enough. But now at this point, I can push back and say hey, we want to be better here want to be better. there and So I think it’s just a lot of, you know, you’re gonna continue to learn in business. And if you stop learning in business, your business is probably going to die.
Yeah, no, I love that. I think that when you’re a business owner, when you’re an entrepreneur, you’re not just learning new things, you’re also learning about things that are changing, right? So your industry is going to change just because the world is in constant flux, right? We experienced a lot of this with COVID, all of us had unique issues, that I don’t care how prepared you are you we’re not prepared for that it hasn’t really happened in our lifetime. And the reaction to it, we can’t really control a lot of the regulation that came out, we didn’t have any control over. And I love the saying that if you have more than 30% of the information, or whatever the cliche is, then you’re already too late. Right. And so that’s why it’s so important for an entrepreneur to be in a position where they can evolve, and they can continue to learn new things. Now, I think that’s really intimidating for some entrepreneurs, some, they don’t want to have to learn everything. What are some things that they can do, so that they don’t have to learn about every facet of a business?
Yeah, I think the biggest thing is always trying to find your weakness in the business, we actually do this quite a bit. So we have monthly reviews, and we get on and we say what’s our biggest point that we’re lacking? What’s our weakest point of our structure? So our logo is actually a triangle. And we always try to, we always refer back to our triangle because it’s the strongest polygon, I don’t know. It just happened to be that way. We always say what’s the weakest point of the triangle? So we’ll say, Hey, you know what, right now, it’s social media engagements not high enough for right now. It’s Facebook ads, our sales aren’t where we want to be, or our conversion rate XYZ. You don’t have to learn everything all at once. You need to find your weakest point and learn to move that up to the same bar as everything else. It’s you don’t need to be, you know, an expert in everything I think is an entrepreneur, especially as an owner, you don’t need to be an expert, because you’re going to hire the experts. That’s the goal of employees is to hire people smarter than you who can work for you, and tell you the next good steps to take those people who have those specialties. But like we said, you have to understand enough. So finding those weak points along the way. And just learning enough to get it to that next level, you’ll slowly start to develop that knowledge, I think, to really understand your business as a whole. I think
that’s a great point, focusing on areas, it’s kind of low hanging fruit, right? If you’re focusing on areas that are, you know, relatively weak, then, you know, you can improve so much faster, right, like somebody that doesn’t go to the gym, haven’t been to the gym in five years, they’re going to make more noticeable improvements over a shorter period of time than somebody that’s been going every day, six days a week for the last five years. It’s just the way that works. One issue I might have with that is how do you stay positive entrepreneurs have to be positive, they have to be optimistic. How do you do that, while you’re kind of focusing on your weaknesses? Honestly, I
think the biggest thing that probably keeps me positive when things are kind of going bad is my partners, which we spoke about earlier. You know, if you see if one of your partners is having a really rough time, because their main focus, let’s say, you know, your knees, our Creator, our designer, let’s say he’s really struggling with getting the design the way he wants it, the pleadings not coming out, or the durability of the product is where he wants to be. He might drop his head and mean ferocity to come in and step in. And, you know, tell him, Hey, you know what, it’s good. What can we help you with? You know, we might not be the experts here, but what can we do to help you out, and vice versa, if I’m struggling on Facebook ads, like I did in q4 of last year with, you know, with COVID going on, and you know, all the holidays, politics and everything affected Facebook ads, I was like maybe I’m not cut out for this. I’m not the best. And they’re like, hey, you’re good. Keep going. You’re good. You’re good. Partners, helps keep you positive throughout those tough times. And like I said earlier, and like you said, I don’t think we’d be nearly where we’re at right now if it wasn’t for those other people lifting me up along the way, or vice versa.
Yeah, I think that’s another benefit of having partners is you have somebody to help you shoulder the load and not just the workload, but the emotional load of being an entrepreneur, and it’s somebody that cares as much as you do. And so it’s nice, man, it’s nice. I don’t vent to my employees really ever. It’s not something I do, but I’ll call one of my partners and be like, you know what, I’m having a bad day and I’m pissed and usually my partner’s like, hey, do you We’re good we did you know, we hit ABC metrics and you know, we’re on, we’re doing great for this quarter, our projections are right in line with with our goals. And, you know, it’s nice having somebody that is kind of bearing that burden with you. That’s definitely true.
I think you’re spot on there too. Allen, like, you don’t want to complain to your employees, and you, you know, your significant other doesn’t want to hear about it, your friends want to hear about all the time. So that partner who has that emotional investment as well can really understand where you’re coming from, because they’ve been in that position. At some point, you’ve had to do the same for them. So you’re spot on there.
Yeah, 100%. We’ve got to wrap up here pretty soon. But I wanted to ask you a couple of questions about excellence or success. What is your definition of high achievement or excellence? And how do you go after it? What do you do to kind of get to that level?
Yeah, I think for high achievement or excellence. For me personally, the way I look at it is if I’m drained at the end of the day, if I feel like I’ve given my all six days a week, I take Sundays off, I need to have a little chill day, one day a week, I don’t answer customer service and stuff, or work on Facebook. But the rest of the time, if I’m not at the end of that day, know that I gave my all or by slack on something. I try to look at things day by day or week by week, I don’t look at the huge picture because if you look at things months at a time, it’s you know, it can be exhausting to look at how far our goal is a way. So I just try to manage day by day if I can complete all my tasks, I’m a sticky note guy put sticky notes everywhere if I can manage all my tasks on sticky notes, then I achieved my excellence for that day. And doing that day by day and week by week is going to add up to you know that high achievement and that high excellence and those long term goals that you set for yourself.
Nice I love it. All right, Tori well where can people find more about you more about mansion more about all the great things that you guys are accomplishing?
Yeah, so you can find us on Instagram at mansion ma n SS IO N stands for man on a mission actually. So we took those two words combined them together. So it’s mentioned with two s’s same thing mansion calm, you can find us on there. COMM sign up for the newsletter. You can learn more about the business along the way. We like kind of sharing interesting facts and kind of how we started and you know, we appreciate the time being on here.
All right, it’s a pleasure. Thanks, Tori. Thank you very much.
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