Welcome see the future. You guys hello, beautiful people, we are live. Have you missed us? I'Ve missed you. It'S been a long time. I apologize for the delay in getting the start. You know how it is. We got to shake off the cobwebs, but today you're gon na want to stick around because lots of fun things were happening. There might be even some giveaways, dare I say, but joining us today on the raw livestream is none other than mr. Johnny Cupcakes. Earl. Now there's a couple of things I know about Johnny. So let's see he's a serial entrepreneur he's been hustling since he's. I don't know in his early teens, he founded Johnny cupcakes in 2001 and they make all kinds of things: t-shirts, shorts, sweaters, jewelry, undergarments and pins. You know hash tag, merch 2005. He opened his first store. I believe the flagship store is in Newberry Street, which we're gon na take a look at, and he was able to do five figures of sales in the very first day, with hundreds of people lining up around the block. How does somebody even do that and for t-shirts? Even that's incredible and he has a fascination with vintage typewriters. As far as I can tell, I want to ask him about that and he's been doing the public speaking thing now check this out. You guys he's a man after my own heart because he's not afraid to throw out his fashion Sensibility, look at him in the pink polkadot shirt and the blue striped pants he's pretty crazy, so this guy's a rebel top to bottom and let's take a look at The store, as you can see, on the store here, he claims, he's the world's first t-shirt baker and, I believe, that's a pretty safe claim and once you step into the store, you can see how the imagination of this man has permeated the entire customer and user Experience and when you walk in there are these two giant ovens, and it tells you there's more to explore just give a tug on the right door, pretty cool. So when I see something like this, it makes me think of the things that I would experience in Disney like elaborate set design and crafting an entire user journey and telling a story, and this is going beyond just buying something in the store. So here we go we're going to open the door here, we step into the shop, and you can see this is unlike most experiences, you've had in the retail space. There'S a bunch of ovens lined up on the door, cool neon sign and it looks like, from first appearances, we're stepping into some kind of bakery. Now I found out about Johnny and I watched some of his videos when he does public speaking and he talks about how he went through the expense of buying ovens and and racks that you would normally associate with a bakery. Instead of just setting up something. Really cheap and doing the shelves because he really believes in the entire user experience. So here you can see here's a close-up shot of some of the t-shirts and they're laid out on baking trays, very cool super creative, and you can see that the creativity doesn't stop here, we'll get into the packaging here. The the shirts themselves are packaged up in takeout containers that you would have for cupcakes and they're wrapped with tissue paper and there's a whole look and vibe and feel to it. The pins are put inside cupcake trays. Of course, the theme runs up and down and look into some of the work that it may be produced over there, Johnny Cupcakes he's been able to tap into the zeitgeist. We can see here there's a reference here to Infinity Gauntlet or something like that. The Infinity met legalize cupcakes somebody looks like they're rolling up a joint there and then there's a bunch of parodies that he's done in terms of bathing ape or the north cake. I love that one very clever and then there's the what I presumed to be licensed merged with the Transformers and the DC characters, but we'll get into that we'll see if this is done in collaboration. Or is this one of those parodies that you can get away with too so before we do that? I'M gon na ask Erica to please roll the titles, [ Music ], all right! Welcome back you guys joining me from is: where are you where's the? Where are you and right now, I am in Boston on 279 Newbury Street at the Johnny Cupcakes flagship shop. Thank you so much first of all for being patient. We probably should let all our fans know how to watch this episode right now. So if you haven't done so already, I should do this on Twitter or something, but let them know that we're on youtube.com, slash C /. The future is here, slash live and this will be live for a while until it becomes a recorded video. But right now we're streaming live so Johnny. I have a bunch of questions for you, but first of all thank you. Thank you. So much for being patient with us. You seem to have like a really like your finger on the pulse of what's happening in pop culture and the creativity it just never ends as the more I research I do about you and the work that you've done the more impressed I am now we want To let everybody know tuning in live today that we have a little sweet surprise in store for them, and I want to encourage people to let's do something creative and let's do something fun, Erica, sweet. Surprise! Thank you, alright! So, first you guys, if you want to look up Johnny's on Twitter, he's on Instagram, it's Johnny Cupcakes. Obviously, that's not his real name, but that's how maybe a lot of the world knows him, and when I give you this hashtag and Johnny tell us tell them what they need to do in order to win something cool for me today, the hashtag is Johnny. Cupcakes live make sure you use this because Johnny will be looking at whatever it is he's about to challenge you with go ahead Johnny. What are we gon na do yep, so I'm gon na need you to stand in a bathtub you with your clothes on and get Goods clarified, and we need to know that you were actually in this livestream video, so you will be taking a selfie of yourself. Maybe you might be at work and there's not a bathtub, you could stand by a sink, we'll accept a sink, and just a very serious like you know, photo shoot as if you were a kid at school and just be very serious in the bathroom with the Live stream behind you, so we know that you were a part of this. I'M gon na search the Johnny cupcake live hashtag on Instagram and I'm also gon na search it on Twitter and I'm gon na choose a few random people. Obviously the more creative. The more funny that the better but we'll choose a few random winners later on and we will announce those or I will direct message. You awesome awesome. Okay, so you have to have a serious look, so Johnny suggested. Maybe the fist on the chin give us your best look and it has to kind of has to be in the bathroom. So we know that you took it today right yeah, you mean bonus points if you wrap your arms and face with toilet paper and look like a mummy by the way I'm streamium at my retail shop right now and we are open. So there is a customer inside who walked in to me saying, go in your bathroom and take photos of yourself with toilet paper a face, so our customer is gon na be walking past us. Is we're live streaming right now? No, so we have two entrances. One is through Diane's secret oven, which brings you on the wall of the great wall above ins. These normally open and closed at different times and shoots Teemo. But for the sake of the video we're gon na turn that off and then we have a site and customers are gon na, come through awesome, okay, so I'm gon na open up with some questions for you. One thing I wanted to know from you is when, when you're making ideas, how do you figure out, which ones to make that's a really good question? So we are a little bit different than most brands or t-shirt brands. A lot of brands release products seasonally and they sell to stores. We do not sell to retail stores and we release products weekly, sometimes twice a week, which means that's a lot of ideas. We need to come up with. I say we because it's not me it's. My customers, it's my team and we all work together and try to plan a kind of Willy Wonka style schedule for the year. So we know every year we're gon na come out with our baseball team shirts, our basketball theme shirts, our football team shirts. We know we're gon na do our Valentine's Day, shirts, our st
Patrick'S Day shirts, basically any time we have a reason to celebrate. We are gon na do that, but through the art of t-shirts and if we have time we're gon na ream eat remix that even further. So, to give you an example, last year for Saint Patrick's Day, we did a pot of gold, cupcake and crossbones t-shirt, and I chose to take a financial risk by giving those away for free. So the only way you could get that t-shirt was to physically find me like a leprechaun or a pot of gold, and I and I would illegally hide in people's bushes around back in Boston and people came out and found me and the more weird. It is. The better, but even though I took a financial loss giving those away for free, it would be physically impossible for you to not share the story of how you got that limited edition t-shirt. If you found a little bearded dude in a stranger's bush. So we really spots and we pull integration from everywhere from art, from not a lot of nostalgia. You know we do a lot of reactive marketing, so if somebody's winning a championship, if Drake has a hotline bling' song, we need to do a cupcake bling t-shirt in 24 hours, but we know we're gon na. We always know that we're gon na work with the seasons, the sports, the holidays and then, if we run out of ideas, you know we can always take a pattern and put it in a t-shirt. Put it in our logo package, it up a little bit differently. Right now we're toying around with scented ink. So that's something we're very excited about, but um, but yeah that that's um. That'S that's the deal. How many of those leprechaun shirts did you make and how many people found you in their bush? That'S a very funny question that you asked, I will say we probably made about 30 t-shirts and I would say maybe 14 people have found me in bushes in Boston and one person found me in an ice cream shop in Los Angeles, because I sometimes I'll bring The shirts with me so there's still some of these shirts, but I have to act like a leprechaun or a leprechaun hunter and find these because my office is very, very messy. Okay, so there's still a few of these coveted t-shirts left. So when you announce it, you'll hide in the bush somewhere. I will and that's got to be a little strange in itself and, and you know it makes work fun for me and it makes it makes it fun for our customers and then for the past 17 years of being in business. We'Ve spent little to no money on traditional advertising. It'S mostly been these. These bizarre adventures through t-shirts, whether it's through the packaging storytelling any way we can make memories around merchandise and by doing that, our customers are always saying hey. I got this shirt from this weird guy in a bush dressed up as a leprechaun, or I had to wait in line to buy this. We did a breakfast theme t-shirt once that you can only buy during breakfast hours and a few showed up in the afternoon. We would not sell it to you, even if you drove from New York City to Boston, because it's against company policy, so we gave out real breakfast with every t-shirt purchase and it was fun it made it really fun. I'M looking for that slide right now. In case I'm not making an icon, it's it's right here. I got it so here we go. You know you get a lot of flack for this. I think you shared this story about how people are like what kind of weird place is, is and, for all intents and purposes, people think it's a bakery where you can get something and they go in and they can see on on your window is there's no Sugar, no carbs, no fat, and then you know you finally decided. Okay, I'm gon na make a breakfast special t-shirt where you buy the shirt and you get breakfast. That'S yeah yep, it's very confusing to the people who are upset at us for not selling real food. Just a lot, we have a lot of bad reviews on the food web sites because people will pay to park and they'll walk in and and and they'll look for cupcakes and Johnny cupcakes. And if you know, if I want to give them a hard time I'll say well, you know the Apple store does not sell fruit. Why should Johnny Cupcakes sell cupcakes? That'S a valid argument. No well. We did sell cupcakes once on April Fool's Day and we hit all of our t-shirts and we we really tricked our own customers that day, so we actually sold a lot so a lot of cupcakes. So I open a store across the street called Johnny's t-shirts that only sells cupcakes someday. I think there's something about you that seems very mischievous and likes to like play around with people's expectations, and maybe in that surprise you build a really strong following. So it sounds to me, like you, have fanatical fans who are customers, but probably you do really poorly on Yelp for food reviews correct correct. So, while we're on the topic of who your customers are, I'm just curious is, if you've been able to identify any kind of patterns like who shows up who waits in line who's, hunting you and the bushes. Who is this person? You know if you ever have a chance to attend the Johnny Cupcakes event and at my shop, you'll you'll see people from all walks of life. We have customers who are five years old. We have customers who are 85 years old. When I was setting out to start the brand, I was in a hardcore metal band and I would sell shirts out of my suitcase. I was in a band called on broken wings and I played samples and put in weird sound effects in between heavy metal breakdowns. But when I sold the t-shirts most of the people who were buying them were tattooed, guys and bands, and when I opened my first retail store in Boston, it changed everything. Because now my customers were people from all walks of life and I never wanted to call my brand streetwear or I didn't really want to give us a label, because I wanted to be playful and something that a family can come in and enjoy. So, hmm, you will see people from all walks of life. You know, we've been there, you kind of like a theme, a common thing that puts them all together. I think people who collect things in general, like myself, I am a collector I've collected stamps. When I was four years old, I collect vintage typewriters. Now I collect vinyl records. I'Ve always collected things so when I have ideas or when I bring up ideas to my team or or the people, we collaborate with it's important to have a collectability aspect to it, whether a t-shirts numbered. Thank you, sir sorry about the toilet paper talk earlier, so yeah, whether it's limited edition or numbered or comes in a funny package. I want them to feel that excitement that I used to feel when I'd open up a box of cereal, and there was a physical prize at the bottom. And now I have I've been a thirty case-sensitive number on online and they're making money off of me from their marketing, and I might not win a prize in the box of cereal. So I do see collectors basically people who love going to comic-con. They probably like Johnny, Cupcakes or people who collect sneakers. We have some of those customers, but we also have kids that are in school. We have a lot of business people folks from marketing backgrounds that just like the story or read about it as a case study and they ventured off to the store - and maybe they tricked their family and friends and win a prank but uh yeah. It'S all over the place, but the one commonality I would say collectors I would say fam. I would say, good people if that makes them yeah I've seen some customers of other brands that you know try to be a little too cool and mean everyone. Here is a big welcoming on the inside tag of all of my t-shirts. It says if you could see it, I try not to yeah it's it's. What makes you happy and on the inside tag of our underwear that we saw I'm just kidding, but we push positive messages. We push mischievous and just an overall family-friendly aspects to the brand's, because it's a nice thing to do. Yeah I, like that. There'S a sense of whimsy and irony and in the designs that you do and I think since you're releasing shirts weekly or bi-weekly, as you say, you're very reactive you're, on top of what's going on in pop culture and just tapping into all that stuff. So if you're a pop culture fan if you're into transformers or DC or marvel geeks, if you will, I mean I'm part of the culture myself you're gon na, feel that connection in that bond. Now I have to ask you this other question. Typically, how much do this shirts go for our t-shirts typically go first, thirty-six dollars. The reason is we make them in such small batches and when I say small, I mean we might make 75 t-shirts. We might make 200 t-shirts, we don't sell them anywhere, except our own stores and we've put a lot of time and money and resources into the packaging. The story tell in the retail environment to make it special. We use very soft t-shirts. Soft cotton, sometimes we'll throw in random prizes and people's online orders or orders at the shop. You might get a vintage Ghostbusters card or New Kids on the Block, just something to make something like a kid. My goal is always to make my customers feel like it's their birthday, and we try to do so through this through those things, sometimes our more limited edition shirts. So last week we released a couple t-shirts and then, a few days later, we released the same design on a different colorway and the only way you could get it was on our official eBay page, the eBay, Johnny Cupcakes, eBay, vol, and it was just a different Color, but we were able to sell it for $ 15 more. It was about forty five fifty dollars, and that was a special gift for the collectors. There'S some people that want when nobody else has and - and that is a difficult thing to struggle with too, because I want to make a limited edition brand. But I'm also employing my mom and my dad and my sister and my friends, and I want to make sure that I could still do that so having that balance really really helps with the brand's mm-hmm-hmm. I got I'm tracking I'm trying to track the comments here where you're talking. So I little distracted lots of love here, so I'm gon na see what YouTube is sharing with you right now, okay, Andrew Magee who's asked. Do you take credit cards that seems pretty straightforward? We do take credit cards, we take Amazon pay and we're gon na start looking into Bitcoin. At some point I don't all I know is I can't go a day hearing hearing about it, but so why not think it would? It would be appropriate to make a limited edition, Bitcoin t-shirt or just make our own currency you've, probably physical, because I'm a I I like. I love the smell of print. I love the smell of stickers, I'm a very I get in trouble when I buy CDs. Still because I just it's nostalgia to me - I, like I, don't say my way. I am nothing way and I just want to attest to something. Johnny was talking about the quality of the shirts on how this often I am wearing one right now, and you can see that look at boom and they are super soft and the cut. Is it's a it's a good cut because I like a slimmer cut and - and it's more fashionable - so I think that's another part of the DNA of the brand that you have created in terms of like people wanting to have a little fun with our fashion and Mixing it up, I can see that in some of the more avant-garde, wardrobe choices that you've made even the way you come across in your photos, how like you're, you're yelling? Are you having fun or smiling or doing something crazy, hair, crazy beard? It just seems to come out of you and your brand so kudos to you on that. Thank you. It'S, I think the best thing that I've done ever since starting the brand is just being transparent and and having fun and bring bringing people along the right. I think it's life's too short to be very serious. You know, I know as a consumer, you know if I have to go by, let's say refrigerators for my shop or a pop-up shop, and I have to choose between 200 companies that are selling the same refrigerators. The same distributors selling the same thing if I just saw one of these websites who selling the same refrigerator, if they told me that there were a family-run brand or if they posted photos of their employees as little kids. It'S something that made me laugh. I would feel this human connection with them and I wouldn't feel like I was feeding money to this machine. I would be excited. I'D want to support a company, so anyone that's tuning in, I would say, whatever business. You start, whether it's a restaurant, a design agency, a t-shirt brand, whether you're a wedding photographer, be transparent. Tell your story, your history and and bring people. You know a lot all along that right with you, okay, so I'm gon na read some some questions. The comments of the we're really antsy. I just want to first say hello, to herseif who's tuning in from Singapore. It'S 3 a.m.
There so he stayed up real late for this and he's like he's so excited. Thank you. My friend, mm-hmm Rochus is us. Why is that neon sign flipping flipped? It'S because where is it through a camera that it slipped er? Oh, oh, it's flipped is it that are they reading it backwards? Yeah. I think it's coming in backwards. Right now, raise your right hand razor. I had Johnny flip it. This is in it right now see see you guys. You understand that the whole camera thing just relax everything. It'S fine, just relax, it's not a little. It'S alright, cuz! Your logo is symmetrical on your shirt. So we can't tell does this say: Johnny Cupcakes the correct way? No, it says it flipped, so you want to flip your camera. If you want to do that, we can I mean you guys can on your end, alright, so we need to flip it on my ends. Let me flip this around. Where did we flip it before days or is it Kim is saying this is really dope? Somebody else is saying: you're the coolest guy out there yeah okay. So here's here's a question coming in from Ivan he's asking: where did the brand? Okay? Sorry guys hang in there, I'm gon na fill in some dead air for Johnny. In case you guys are wondering that's the wrong way. Now you guys it upside down one more time. This is cool. You guys look at this! Welcome. Okay, so uncheck it there. We go woo yeah, you got it, you got it, it's all good. Now now it says Johnny Cupcakes in the bag. This is the real Johnny Cupcakes. You did not know that person before all right. Let'S be more questions yeah! So there's somebody saying hello from Trinidad. There'S people from all over the place Trinidad. How are you Singapore? Thank you for tuning in yes, some of our customers stay up really late, because normally we have our t-shirt releases every Friday at noon Eastern Standard Time. So we have some customers and off really who are just waking up or going to bed yeah and it's funny based on when I post something on Instagram or my Twitter, I will I'll click on the people who are their profiles and I'll see. Well, that's crazy! That person's from you know from South Africa yeah or from this place, or not South Africa they're only there not far behind us but anyways. So I have another question for you: how how many shirts you print in these releases? How limited are they? Our t-shirts could be as limited some of the more limited ones or we'll make like 50 or 45 t-shirts, but for a normal batch it could be between 75 and and 200 t-shirts. That'S a lot of energy and effort into selling. Only 200 shirts tell me about the business mindset on that. Yes, it is, we do have some classics so, for instance, the shirt you and I are wearing these are the number one seller so we'll always make these in different colors will make pocket print ones, and then my Boston store has in-store exclusives that you can only Buy if you physically come here, because I had a problem when I first started, I had customers who did not want to pay to park and travel out to the store. They'Re like why I'm just gon na buy it in my sweat, pants online right. No, it was like, oh yeah, are you well we're gon na make a special shirt that you can only get in the store and, in fact we're gon na give you breakfast if you come out and get that shirt, but if you're late you're not getting either Of those things, so so those shirts in here that play around with Boston's pop culture and and it really makes tourists exciting excited because a lot of people who come to our store are one-time buyers that are just visiting the city for a baseball game or go To college here, Austin's a pretty small city, but it packs a punch - and I think you know - we've been in business for 17 years and I've had the store here we're coming up on twelve years of this location, and it was definitely a very scary financial risk To open up here, but looking at our online customers and looking at how quickly new people come to this city, I don't know the exact statistic but New England as a whole. I feel as if it's around a million students with New Hampshire, Maine and all of Massachusetts, these students that are coming and going and when they go back home with their John cupcake shirts they're, like planting the seeds and in their respective countries or cities mm-hmm. Oh yeah, you know yeah pretty limited. I like that concept that that you, you only sell certain things at the physical store at that particular location, because yeah as brands become more ubiquitous, it doesn't matter if you're in Singapore, if you're in California or Japan, you can get the same stuff. So it takes the whole fun of finding something, discovering something and kind of being rewarded for your travels and your adventure. It takes it away. So I like that that if you're in Boston - and you want to get a Johnny, Cupcakes exclusive design, you're gon na go there and it's gon na be a very different experience and it would be anywhere else yep. You know the flip Sutton. On the flip side, we will do that on the website, so the local people who say I'm not gon na buy online. I could just go to the store, we'll have some online exclusives. That'S very cool. Okay, so there's a couple other questions and then I have my own questions. I got to get to yeah, but everybody wants to know. Where did the brand name Johnny Cupcakes come from? Can you tell us that story? Yes, so so I'm part Portuguese. So my name is actually Johnny coupe caucus and there's a couple dots above the you know. It'S not it's not like. I am. I was working at a record shop called Newbury Comics and while I was working there, I was in my hardcore metal band and I was receiving all these funny nicknames at work. My goofy co-workers would call me johnny-come-lately if I was late for work. Johnny Appleseed came out of nowhere and Johnny Cupcakes was another nickname and while I was getting t-shirts made for the band that I was in, I thought it would be funny to make a t-shirt advertising a bakery that didn't even exist and I wore that shirt to Work in all of these slightly miserable customers that never made eye contact with me, they started laughing and saying what is Johnny Cupcakes. Is that a bakery? Where can I get a t-shirt? My brother's name is Johnny. My sister loves to bake and before I knew it, I I was selling these many t-shirts to strangers and when I'd sell, 12 t-shirts I'd take that money and I'd make 20 40 shirts and when I'd sell, that I take that money and make more. And I also I've never partied before so I have saved a lot of money by not drinking and going out or when I do go out with my friends I'll I'll try to bring some of my t-shirts and do a pop-up shop or a brown-bag, a Capri Sun juice drinks, nobody heckles me for a day or not even but but those little things help help my brand grow, and it's really you know making time for it. The more you put in the more you get back and and, and you know, making sure you're not wasting your money on things if you're really serious to start but starting a business if you're not putting that time and money into it, someone else was gon na. Do it quicker and better so I was while my friends were at parties with cute girls. I was at you know, craft fairs, with cute old, ladies hustling, mighty, thoats or or whatever little business I had at the time. I had many little crafts before Johnny Cupcakes but um. I was a magician at one point. I did magic at birthday parties I sold glow sticks around fourth of July and I would say to people those parents hey. If you don't want your kids, you know blowing off their fingers, you could buy a glow stick and I would you know, buy them from the Oriental Trading Company catalog, which is like the Bible of entrepreneurship and and I would um yeah. That was another one. I sold Tupperware at one point, which was a very bizarre adventure. I I've just always loved that process. I'M not even the goal of hey. Let'S, let's make a bunch of money, you need to do that to survive and grow your business, but the most I get so bummed out when a project is finished, because the most exciting part is being under pressure and coming up with these ideas and collaborating with Different people and reaching out to your customers and physically pounding the pavement to build those relationships. It'S it's really the best part about it. It'S like physically putting a puzzle together, mmm, hey Erica. I noticed we're getting a little lag there. I don't know if it's Johnny's connection or ours are you? Are you hearing that? Okay, a little logon? Okay, alright, once if you guys some, don't mind, shutting the Wi-Fi off if anyone's connecting to the store Wi-Fi on their phones and we'll see what helps potentially plugging in via hardline. If you can, I noticed when you were adjusting the camera, we started to feel a little issue. I know that shouldn't be an issue at all, but you're starting to lag a little bit yeah. Okay, do you know if we have a hard-line back there? That'S connected to the computer, for their Wi-Fi or for their internet. You want to take a check, take a look and see if they have that we can um hook it into this computer. If well, while we're doing that, somebody had asked Bob to bill. That is asking: did you have to take investment money to start your company, or was it just that you sell something you reinvest and you keep doing that over and over again is it lagging for you a little bit? Okay um! So when I first the first few years of being in business, it was always reinvesting the same money back into it. Regrettably, a couple times of you know maxed out a credit card and like maybe year, three or year for maybe a year for year, five. I got a very small business loan or line of credit from the bank, but but never investors I've been approached, but it just wasn't for me. I feel like I'd, be given away my brand and I don't I don't know what else I'd do. If I didn't do this it just doesn't, it doesn't feel right for me some it works for some people and taking investment. Money isn't bad, but we're still a privately held family-run brand and - and that's that yeah great here's another question coming in from Mario sick. Can we hear what you did to promote the brand at the beginning to the fashion streetwear market yeah once okay? Is it lagging at all? It'S okay! I think we're doing a little bit better. Okay, let's just keep rock and rolling. I want to wrap you again if you start getting real choppy okay, so when I first started the brand ways to promote to the mass, oh, should I just not an Apple store, I don't know we could run and grab a cord if we need to it. Could be that our machine is lagging with him you're talking about me in my camera, but I'm not using Wi-Fi here. This is my camera is coming directly into you. It could be us Americo. Can we get him plugged in you want to grab Aaron? You just leave it: why don't you leave it? Split-Screen just go, grab Aaron and see if we have an adapter, so we can plug into and Johnny. If there's any chance that you have a way to plug in to be a hard line. That would be awesome. Okay, well we'll just yeah we'll just tough through this part, that's cool! Well, we will yeah I'll jump on that question is sec. Do we have the cord if we were able to get an adapter and just double-check in the back of that camera? There I mean the back of the computer. There might be something all right well we're, while we're checking on that to answer that question when the brand was first starting, I would go out and hand out flyers and I think it's because I come from a music background that I'm I'm okay with rejection and With standing out Aaron - and it really really builds you up to - I don't know to take a few punches and to be able to keep on going. Social media didn't exist. Maybe year two year, three of being in business. I think Friendster came out and then MySpace, but I had never relied on social media and even now it's definitely helps the brand. But I see a lot of brands that will only rely on their social media and they won't go meet people in real life and - and I think that becomes a problem, if you can marry the two, I think there's a great synergy yeah. I would pass out flyers, I would. I would do pop-up shots at people's houses. I would do them at college dorms. Any beauty salons tattoo parlors. I would tell people hey if you or any of your friends want some free, Johnny, Cupcakes merch. All you have to do is host me and I'll show up and bring the pop-up shop to you mm-hmm so early days, I'd bring my you know, credit card terminal or a Swiper, and I would actually do pop-up shops at other people's places and in return I'd Hook him up with some merchandise, and it was great, as I opened up my own stores, I that took a backseat, but we just brought it back and I'm actually hiring cake dealers around the u.s
So a cake dealer is someone who we trained to be an entrepreneur and event: planner Johnny Cupcakes, pop-up shop expert and they collaborate with local businesses and do pop-up shops where they are and we give them. We give them 30 percent or whatever they make and anytime. They make $ 1,000, we give them a sprinkle and a sprinkle is a point and at the end of the month, they cash in those points for things like business cards or an iPad or an exclusive t-shirt, design that nobody else has, and we really kind of Help them nurture this business, I give them the keys to the brand if they apply and if they are qualified and if they make it through the test pop-up shop with our secret shoppers in place. You know it is a scary thing to let go but but but yeah it's been a really really fun project and and we're working on it now yeah, my friend Kyle and I are have been working on that and we've had a few hundred people apply, but We'Re right now we're only onboarding one or two people a month and yeah. It'S just another experiment. I look at all of these things as experiments and try to have room financial room to be able to fail and screw up and and because, if any of these ideas hit, it could be a very important part of the Johnny Cupcakes journey mm-hmm. I like that. You'Re willing to take all these chances, whether it's hiding in the bushes, leprechaun and being possibly arrested for that or launching this entrepreneurship program to involve the community people who love the brand, live the and want to be become some kind of partner and participation of spreading. It around the world, I think, that's fantastic. How long has that program been in? In fact, the official cake dealer program has been going for a year, mm-hmm, yep, okay and and it's it's been a blast. Some people are stay-at-home, mom or dad, and they they do design work on the side, but they still need a little bit of side hustle money and they will do a few pop-up shops a month and yeah. It'S it's. It'S very exciting great. I'M just curious. The cake dealer is that a play on the coke dealer, like soda, don't play innocent with me. Mister cupcakes, yet is a play on that any any time that we could mix cute with dangerous or bad. It'S a gives us very fun results time. We can play someone holding a gun with a cupcake or a whisk or her. You know we'd, like you mentioned earlier, for 4/20, we did a legalized cupcakes shirt and we replaced marijuana with sprinkles and it makes everybody smile, and you know I don't know. I love that I love that, so I have a bunch of other questions for you in terms of ideas and then design so in the beginning, you're in this hardcore metal band, and then you have this idea. I love this. When people make fun of you, you turn it into something that you can profit from and and that's pretty consistent throughout your story, so people are calling you johnny-come-lately Johnny cupcake, so I can make something out of that. So who did I in this original logo? I don't really like this, I did and I did it on Microsoft Paint now you guys used mspaint, it's all I got. I was 18 years old, that's all I knew and, and it was a joke I was not. I never studied business or design. I never set out to be a business owner. I I was poking fun at a nickname and pop-culture, and I made this shirt and it made people smile, there's been variations of. You know making sure this isn't too close to that might look body part or you know, we've cleaned it up quite a few times over the years clearance from I'll be my first half-dozen designs I made on the computer and then after that I realized, who have A connection you just have to get the connector we plugged ours in so it's improved is, if you plug it in ya, the amazing grabbing, whatever just saving the receipt, all right. So, while Johnny's doing this and the crack team is running across the street to the apples to her to get an adapter, this is how Pro we both are both of us. We just in this. This is a prime example of rolling, with the punches there's, some people that cry or swear or or do both or or the screw it we'll do it live but and feel free if it does get choppy on my end, you can post images or videos silent Videos over the top, but well what was I saying so yeah earlier on? I I was making these shirts as a joke and and that hobby slowly turned into a business and as my brand develops, I I quickly realized what my strong suits are and my weak suits are. There was one point where I was doing: customer service and going to the post office and and running my little janky warehouse and doing physical pop-up shops myself and trying to make some shirts and it just all of a sudden I was. I was half steppin everything and it was physically impossible to make each of those things quality. I had to eventually ask for help, so I started collaborating with different artists and I would send them my little drawings or concepts or ways that I wanted to package things and just collaborate with them and then eventually I had you know, I think my first employee Forced real employee was a customer who used to buy shirts for me on the corner and he started folding t-shirts in my house when I was living at my parents when I was 18 19 years old and and my mom eventually, you know helped out here and There, but when I open up the Newbury Street store and and it was successful, I was able to hire my mom full-time to be the CFO of the brand, and I was able to hire my sister who went to school for business and my dad to build Stuff, so I'm not trying to do it all myself and who's failing. So it's it's nice and there have been times where I've had a much bigger staff. There'S been times where I've had. You know 12 employees in my office and 40 throughout the whole company. But after realizing how how easy it is an adaptable, pop-up shops are that model has been amazing for us, because we can change it up and I've personally done over 500 pop-up shop and 99 % of those I have not paid any rent for. Besides my t-shirts, I have not paid for physical spaces, I will utilize social media and I'll say hey. I gon na do a tour around the US or I'm heading to Japan or or I'm heading to Hawaii. Let me know if you want me to do a pop-up shop at your house or your work or your office, any I'll go anywhere. So I've done pop-up shops, you know from someone's backyard barbecue to Facebook's headquarters, to an art gallery and what they get out of it. Is they love that we're going in we're gon na be delivering photos, video, we're gon na help cross market and then we're also bringing probably a couple hundred Johnny Cupcakes customers that live in their state or country who have been following the brand over the years? So it is a true partnership where everybody does get something out of the out of the whole deal, and it's it's been very special and it's really that easy being a people person. Of course you know, maybe if you have no followers and you're just starting a brand, and you want to do this - it might be a little bit tough, but you can say to someone hey if I can do a pop-up shop in your space. I'Ll give you, you know: 20 %, 30 %, 50 % of whatever we make that day. I think in the early stages you might have to you know, adapt a little bit that way, but you can always borrow your products and if it's someone at a university, that's having a frat party, that's like hey you'll hook, my friends up with some shirts and You you just need a space, we'll do that so little trades, it's like an old-fashioned way of doing business from a 1920s. Just people would barter they would they would share spices and and keep on trucking, and I love that great suggestions. There are a lot of different creative ways and I like that. You problem-solve that, through a number of different ways that you can conduct business so that there's really no excuse for you. If you want to get out there, even if you don't have a social media following that, you can barter and trade your way into it, just make it a win-win situation for both parties and you're gon na have something and yeah. That'S consistent in your story from what I've been able to dig up and watch is that yours is a hustler you're, just finding a way to make things work so before I get into what I believe I want to get this answer, but before I do that, I just want to ask about your creative team. The people are actually making all the different pieces of art from those signs that we see on the walls, the t-shirts, the packaging you're, going through a lot of materials that you're making. So can we get ideas to how big team is and how they work sure? So the the team changes I think the longest people have had on my team are Dale and Korey and they both started off as customers that would submit fan art Cory. I'D met at an event, but Dale would submit fan art on our Facebook fan page and over the years I was like. Who is this dude and I just called them up and I said: hey, you can still live where you live, but I want to start. I want to start paying you for some of these designs and and he's he's been great, Cory's been great and there have been times where I've had some designers in-house. But it's really it's really tough for both parties, because how is a creative person supposed to be creative when they have to wake when they have to work 9:00 to 5:00 and go to the same place? And how am I supposed to feel like happy and creative when I have to go check in on all of these people and trust that they're there working for the best interest of the brand? So you know, I think, the more that I've switched into a model of working with freelancers. It'S been great because people can be stay-at-home parents and and they don't get paid unless the job's done. So I don't care what they do or when they do it. But you know this is the time when the shirt has to go to print so we'll need it by then, but in my physical office right now it is it's my mom who's, the CFO, it's Kelly, who's been a family neighborhood friend we've known her, since she Was born, she lived across the street from us and she she does bookkeeping with my mom and she also started getting into production. She'S. Helping us get products made all over the place and helping our design schedule same thing with Mary who does customer service she's taught herself design over the years and she's helping with you know getting socks made and keeping our freelance designers on schedule. And then we have my sister Lindsay who came on as Human Resources, which is kind of a jack, is turned into a jack-of-all-trades like most small businesses. Small business employees and my sister helps run our eBay vaults, so basically, instead of putting shirts on sale all the time, we'll do a couple things. One we'll put them on our eBay vaults, maybe six months later, and they become more valuable for our customers. So we don't have to discount our products as much and to we'll take some of those shirts give them to the cake dealers who sell still selling at a higher price point. But the cake dealers goal is to introduce the brand to new people. So our old shirts are always new to new people, so Lindsey runs a little bit of everything she helps out with some of the pop ups really a little bit of everything, and then we have John John Burke is an ease in our warehouse. He runs our warehouse. Does all our fulfillments. He gets help with all of us or with a you know the student. If we need extra extra hand around the holidays, but he runs our warehouse. He does some of our product photo shoots as well, and then Kyle is managing all of the cake dealers and she's like the mob boss of the cake dealers and she primarily works from home or the road. But she comes in once sometimes twice a week and that's really it okay, so are you the person who's coming up with all the ideas and sitting around like let's legalize this, and let's call it, as I mentioned when when we first started the the chat today, It'S really everybody it's from our employees. My mom might come up with an idea, my sister, a customer. My direct message me on Instagram. Someone might even send a design that is actually good, which is a couple times and we will say: hey: let's, let's hire you to do this shirt, you might have to clean it up a little bit and and thicken the lines and give it that 1950s Johnny Cupcakes vibe, but ideas wise, it's really everybody and, and we're almost all trained now to be like all right. How can we make this better? We'Re gon na make a this this shirt? Let'S do scented ink, let's package it a weird way. Let'S add a scavenger hunt element to it, but for freelance designers I work with two sort of full-time freelance designers, which is Cory and Dale, and then I work with two two other guys that will hop on if we need stuff when we're in a pinch, everything Syncs, so the team about four creative people plus a much wider global contribution from different people who are just fans, yes, ideas, but, as I mentioned, even our customer service person is as creative as all of us. Every everybody comes on on board and helps some of the best ideas have come from at the strangest times from the strangest predicaments from the strangest people yeah, and when you're traveling to Japan say to do a pop-up shop. Who are you bringing with you to kind of help facilitate it, because I've traveled brought a little merged with me and it's just painted yeah. But how are you doing on the scale that you're doing in that? Well, Japan was a long time ago and I actually went out there for two speaking engagements and we were able to do pop-up shops at those schools, and I brought one of my friends that with me and old customer hosted us and but you know, for Hawaii. I'Ve brought a couple people with. I brought my mom with me because her sister was the note there. Then so we turned into a family trip and then I brought one person from my office. We had the shirts drop ship there and a couple of customers decided. They wanted to help out and we hired them for the night. We worked with a local DJ, we turned it into a side event, we had food, we had drinks, we had music and then sometimes for the for the paid pop-up shops that will do like we'll rent out a booth at an event that we know there's going To be a ridiculous amount of people, there will, you know, will put a little bit of time and money in there rent out a vintage vehicle, build a giant pastry box, that's huge and with stuff like that. It'S really working with a really bizarre rolodex of people. Hey I remember meeting this guy who collects weird cars: let's get a vintage vehicle or hey. I know someone that works at you know a sign shop, but they really love the brand and they said if we need anything to work with us. Let'S see if they can make a massive pastry box that is bigger than a very tall basketball player and we'll kind of put all those elements together and with the organizational help of everyone in my office and and and really bless them, because I'm always spitting out Ideas, last-minute sometimes the best ideas can last minute and they they handle everything great. I don't, I feel so thankful because, like today I can come here and do this with you, because I know the office isn't gon na catch on fire. It'S it's turned into a well-oiled machine after much much trial and error and very thankful. We have a cord right now that we're about to plug in all right. While you do that, let me just remind people right now, they're just tuning in perhaps you missed the beginning of our our livestream here. If you guys take a picture of yourself in a bathroom, preferably in a bathtub and use the hashtag, Johnny Cupcakes live, and you need to take a very serious photo of yourself real serious and you get bonus points. If you use toilet paper in a creative way - and I believe some people are doing that, Johnny's gon na go ahead and pick some people at the end of the show to give some really cool merch to and I'm gon na use this opportunity to show some Of the stuff that Johnny sent to me check this out, you guys not only am i rocking the t-shirt right now, you sent us a bunch of socks, check that out. Okay, a few shirts have yet to open, we'll see what we're gon na do with those you got to check the input right and then pins and cards playing cards. Hey. Do you want me to turn off Wi-Fi real quick to connect to this code or what you're really great dude, no just plug it in all? You have to do just plug it in it should Auto to clean it. I don't touch anything use the Wi-Fi yeah and it's been pretty smooth so far, so whatever has happened on both your any Mayan has helped tremendously you've been coming in time. Smooth, alright, okay, thanks to mom, gave who's been helping me behind the scenes Dave. If you see anything, funky feel free to come over here and it on down. It'S live and that's how we roll, but you know I I stumbled across you, I just I have a few times a year and it's starting to turn into a few times a week since, since I've you know been subscribed or pals with you on LinkedIn. I really enjoy your videos and your talks and the amount of information that you put out there and I think it's very helpful and I I will find my. I don't normally do this with with any videos besides finding the music playlist. But I will, I will play your videos in the background and listen to some of the guests on there. Talking about. You know how to get a bigger budget out of people or how to negotiate or - or you know little things like that. So I just wanted to thank you and your team. I appreciate that, thank you know and that's kind of how we met and how this shows happening, because you're active on social media, we exchange information and then, sooner or later we have this thing now I have to say to I'm just like it's not like a Love festival here, but as I dig deeper and deeper into your story and how you do things, I'm just blown away. I feel like man, we as a creator person myself, who went to school for this and you're like showing us up right now, and I have to kind of rethink, how we're delivering on our brand experience. So, having said that, it, I don't know if you can see my screen, but I'm gon na show these these slides about the work and I'll talk it through, so that you know. Yes, it's your material, so you talked a lot about packaging packaging packaging. Yes and people to understand that when, when you say it's 38 bucks for a t-shirt, that's a lot for a lot of people, but the amount of care, love and and the just the customer experience that you deliver is beyond what anybody else is doing. I couldn't understand why you have such fanatical followers and customers. I look at this. This is a really creative way to package t-shirts. You rolled it up, put it into a tube, and this takes me back to my childhood, chasing after that ice cream man. These push pops, so it's called the hopup t-there stick hanging out of it and it's so rad. Now now just so, you guys understand the scale of this, because it's misleading here's, a picture of some fans that are rocking the pushpot and it's really cool. So I'm gon na take you through a couple of other things that Johnny is doing. That'S why I had we're quick yeah with that ice cream one. We we packaged ice cream, themed t-shirts in ice cream containers. I know here it is Bobo. I did talk to to rent out ice cream trucks in different cities and we rebranded the ice cream trucks. We gave out real ice cream with every t-shirt purchase and we even went as far as not telling people where we were gon na be until last minute, because we wanted the experience to be so authentic that our customers were chasing us like little kids chasing an Ice cream truck and nobody care, and and with these we charge the higher price point, I was bill, I believe, between 50 and 75 dollars, but they sold out at every stop. Not one person complained, they weren't, even thinking about buying. They were so happy to meet. Fellow Johnny Cupcakes t-shirt collectors in line to get some ice cream to fight go on a scavenger hunt. They were getting hit in the face with all these different types of experiences through the art of a t-shirt and a team coming together with a bunch of bunch of fun ideas. Amazing idea is super fun and even the graphics, I'm looking this one. That'S limited edition exclusive t-shirts and it's like an ice cream push bar like like an Eskimo Pie or something just that one. We we collaborated with the junk food brand and, oh, I know those guys yeah fantastic design, they're great photography but yeah. We you know from that. I don't know if you have some slides of the Halloween stuff that we've done in the past. Don'T know if I have that, but I have. Let me just bring you to the next one here, which is check this out. You guys he's got a whole Johnny Cupcakes, specially packed limited-edition Chinese takeout box, and it's like fully like embracing the rickshaw kind of style, typography and then here's the thing we didn't just print on an existing box. We wanted to get them made from scratch to make them enormous and and to just go through that process of finding out how to make a weird box like that, come to life with our own size specifications for the shirts. Now, when you do something like this is why I was asking you before: do you do any kind of internal testing or using social medias? You like? Are people going to like this or you just go with your gut and usually make them? And you know a couple hundred sell or they don't, then that's your own thing a lot of time. It'S we go with our gut, because you know it's a lot of time. It'S hard. Some of these ideas come last minute. We find out that it's national cookie day and we have to get cookie cutters manufactured, because that would be a pretty sweet thing to release around that time, but but sometimes like we have one customer will give a shot up to Lloyd he's over in England. He really wants us to make a Bob Ross t-shirt. He asked me once a day and I still love him with every every ounce of my my heart. But for me I don't want to just do that. If, if we do that, I think we need to come up with our own paint set and we need to release them while having a painting class in the store and when you buy a shirt, it comes with an app. Oh, No, what happened I'm here. Can you hear me okay, you're, back great, alright? Well, it's how it's going to panic and stable. Let me see if I need to change that you said turn Wi-Fi off or open up one sec open up. Well, while you do that, there's a lot of like kick dealers, I think in the comment section right now, the showing a lot of love so ginger sangwoo cake dealers unite and Caitlyn. Simms is saying: hey, Kyle, to be to be a cake dealer with us, a heart there and Robert loyal or low out. I don't know if you know Robert he's a guy to mine, promoting j-johnny cupcakes on my channel lol. Oh very nice! Thank you guys. I need said I do have a youtube channel which a lot of these releases have been documented, so you can pull some inspiration from there. I definitely need to be a little bit more active but but yeah I yeah. We try to document all of our releases on there and especially on Instagram mm-hmm yeah, just huh come on. Remember hey! If I turn down off Wi-Fi for a second, and if it did boot me out, is it that easy for me to come back in it? Should be okay, all right, the audience is nervous, as am i right now audience, I'm not going anywhere. If I do I'll be right back, I used to be a magician, and this is just you know right my territory here here, huh Bryan, Vilas, saying amazing, stuff. Johnny yeah, if you guys, are joining us late and you want to have a chance at winning some super cool merch from mr
Johnny Cupcakes himself just make sure you take a picture in the bathroom, preferably in the bathtub, with a serious face on put your serious face on bonus points for a toilet paper, creative use of toilet paper. Nothing dirty keep your clothes on you guys, hashtag, Johnny, Cupcakes live and you can post on both Instagram and on Twitter and Johnny will randomly select some winners to give some really cool stuff to now. Um. Okay, you see me yeah. We can see you everything's still alive, it's all still good. We good high off right now. We are hard-wired, absolutely awesome. Okay, so well done team! Well done! Okay, thank you. There'S a strange question in here and I'm gon na ask it: it could be a troll kind of question. I'M not sure somebody asked about your prom, my prom, I you know I didn't have a problem went to a charter school. I had a hard time learning in in public schools, so I went to a charter. School completely changed my life, smaller classrooms project-based, but basically we had. We didn't really have a problem, because my graduating class was like seven or eight people, and you know you. You can't really have a problem with that, but he had on the field. I'Ve been asked to go to other proms, but it was, as I was, an older human and I just didn't feel it felt a little too creepy to say. Yes, although I would have loved him to have made someone's day but um. That'S really okay, you're painting a picture here you are. I just want to make sure that this is true, that no partying stayed away from the drinking and assume everything else that goes with that no gross like you're, just like business, I'm just gon na make my business and play music and then, when the business took Off you stopped doing the band thing right. Yes, yes, I mean there was a time where I I did. I had a girlfriend when I was younger and I just you know it. She wasn't super supportive and then you know she ended up hooking up with one of my friends. While I got my wisdom, teeth pulled out, it was like the worst worse the week in my life, but although was the worst week in my life, sometimes those negative moments really bring clarity because it made me not care it. It made me realize I have to get my own act together before taking on the responsibilities of another humans emotions, and so I just focus - and you know there had been times where I'd go to bed spooning with my laptop sad or a romantic comedy, would come On TV and it would feel like a go as punch in the gut, but you know it all worked out now: I'm you're high, now right happily married and and I'm just I'm finally a good, a good balance. Yeah, it's it's still tough, sometimes, but but it's so important too. It'S tricky. You need to put everything into your business, especially during the early ages and the early stages. But you do need to have a real life too, because it makes work fun and vice-versa - and I put this off for a wife for a long time, because I really had to get this thing up off the ground. And I think, because I I had so many employees at one point I made up jobs for people. I made up jobs that didn't exist because I I wanted to. I had this idea of building this like fun family and even if it meant making very poor financial decisions with with not much leadership, I still did it because I just I don't know I was just young and - and I guess uneducated, you know those are some Things I could have learned at school or I could have learned through your YouTube channel if, if it was around back then, but you know you look at these things as learning lessons and you just you, keep building and switching things around and if something doesn't feel Right with your company make those changes or ask for help. People are there to help you you have to ask for it. Watch some YouTube videos watch some TED Talks. Read some books attend some lectures network. You know, if you don't put yourself out there, nobody's gon na know that you need the help and guidance any perfect, so Andrew McGee's, reminding it like he's very active on this comment thread right now. Andrew you know Andrew, I don't put um Cheers newfound friend. So he's reminding me to ask you this question, and this is this is one I really want to know the answer to which is: how are you dealing with licensing or sometimes doing parody things and not getting the official license? I know you do both right. We do both mm-hmm when I started the brand we did. A lot of my brand was based off of parodies, i hook in front of pop culture, putting a cupcake there instead of a skull and as the brand grew when I was younger, I wanted to collaborate with all these companies and nobody cared because I had no Value to give, and when you do a collaboration oftentimes, you have to guarantee that a company is going to make ten to thirty thousand dollars off of the licensing fees that they collect from you over an agreed set amount of time, and you have to pay that Upfront, so when you are a independent, family-run brand like myself, that could really hurt your cash flow, it could hurt anybody's cash flow and then the products and the waiting and the waiting and the approval process. So it is worth it to do it when you can't do it. When I was younger the the best collaboration that I was able to do was just working with the local pizza place and saying: hey. I'Ve got a Halloween of release coming up. Can we please have 10 pizzas to give out for free in return, we'll put your logo on our flyers and they jumped on it? Anybody can do that any time your event-planning get free drinks free food. If you play your cards right, people will even pay you to put their logos on those flyers. We should get into that in a little bit about sponsorship and ways to barter with people, but going back to what were you talking about again, licensing like licensing? Yes, so as the brand grew people did start caring about what we did, so I was able to do some licensing deals and I was able to save up enough money to officially do those, so the first licensing deal was actually with Warner Brothers with Looney Tunes And I had a, I had a Batman theme design and a joker won, and while I was out opening up our you know our operations on the west coast, we had an 8 year residency shop over in West Hollywood. Right before that shop opened, I received a call from from Warner Brothers licensing department. How many of these shirts did you make and where did you sell them to, and why did you do this and I was like we made like like a hundred shirts and we didn't sell them to any stores and they're all gone, and so I can't like Burn them because there's nothing to burn and they just kept asking questions. They were very intrigued at the end of the conversation they started laughing and saying this is so funny so you're telling me you have bakeries that don't sell food and you put the shirts and yeah. This is great. We, you know what we're gon na. Let this slide, we want to collaborate with, you come to our studios and and let's let's work something out and of course I called up my designer Clark at the time - and I said, dude Warner Brothers really wants to talk to the person who submitted the art Files, it sounds serious and I feel so bad that I played that joke on him, because I waited 24 hours to to tell him but anyways. We ended up collaborating with them. We did Looney Tunes property and we and then we also said hey. We need to make this release even more exciting. So, although we're gon na sell these shirts in our store and online, can you help us out with some giveaways, so they donated 20 cartoon cells to our store with letters of authenticity that we gave out and we made a little grab bag for the first? Twenty. Thirty people, so that made people want to get out they made people want to wait in line and when people see other people waiting in line, they jump in line to it or they took photos or they look up Johnny Cupcakes on online. So me, I purposely opened my store during big releases later in the day for two reasons: one as you know from today. We know that things can go wrong so any time you could buffer out that space. It'S important so we'll try to open our stores at 1:00, sometimes 3 p.m.
Or if it's a spooky release will open at night when it gets dark and then the other thing number 2 is. As I said, when people see other people waiting in line, they either jump in line or our customers act as brand ambassadors and share the Johnny Cupcakes story with all these strangers that are curious, why people are waiting in line, so I will open, in the middle Of the day on a weekend when the most people are out walking around Newbury Street in Boston, because I know that's when I'm gon na get the most real-life impressions and anytime, I do that for a month or two after we have strangers that will just overflow. The store with their presence, asking hey what was that line? There'S people queuing up last month last week. What'S this place all about, so it it's really helped all right. So it sounds to me like you were. If anybody hangs around with you long enough, they know you're always kind of like pushing a line and joking around with them. So you do. You ever run into a problem where somebody who works for you doesn't take you seriously like when you're really serious it. That is probably one of my biggest failures is not putting my business hat on trusting everybody and having too much fun. That is definitely that's really screwed me up. You know, and I almost feel pathetic, like looking at my older self, because I was just a young guy that was trying to bring everyone on the ride and - and I just wanted every one of my company to be friends. You know I'd fly people out to celebrate Christmas with me with you know, weeks before Christmas, I fly out all my employees for my London shop at the time and my Los Angeles residency shop. It was a very nice thing to do, but it was also irresponsible. We just had like our neighbors watch the stores and teach them in 24 hours how to run our register and - and - and I also I had my office - I I was always - I felt so guilty to stand behind someone's computer in ask them to go through what They do in in the eight hours they're working for me. I I never wanted to do that. Cuz. I didn't want anyone to feel like. I didn't trust them, but I didn't do that for years and I found I had some, I had some employees that you know we cut our company down a lot and and we're getting 10 times as much stuff done with twice as less people and I'm looking Back and I'm like man, I it, but it was my fault because I never said expectations with people and I never took my silly personality off and I did once in a while. But I was screwing around so much that I could have been a little bit more profitable and a little bit more business oriented at a younger age, but it's all good. It'S all memories, and - and I wouldn't be here without all of those people - I was just a different time - different time and very, very thankful for for that time, it does hold a special place in the Johnny Cupcakes history awesome. So I think I have two more questions. Then we're gon na go into lightning round. Cuz I've taken up a lot of your time and no that's fun. Okay, awesome! So you have some spectacular ly, amazing, crazy ways to promote. I saw on your deck before, where you actually did this thing where you were in a coffin, then you come out. I don't know if it's a Halloween related, but you rented a hearse and a whole bit. So the question for you here is wait. Wait side. Note I just came up with idea: we should start a cough drop brand called coffins and they could be shaped in a coffin box and have a little driver vampire. So I just wonder if you've ever come over here, like that you, you pushed the boundary of good taste and decency too far or have you never crossed that line? Listen, I I screw up every day. I definitely do not have it figured out. I have a couple things figured out, but I I embrace failures and experiments. So I'll share a couple with you. So yes, one time: okay, great we've done Halloween themed shirts, we've released at night time to go along with the spooky effect. We even went as far as making YouTube trailers for Halloween movies that don't even exist like Khan Stachel rise of the two-headed zombie chef, and then we package those t-shirts in VHS tapes. Not only that we showed Halloween movies in the windows. We rented out a popcorn machine. We had our employees dressed up like zombies that night and then I went as far as renting out at some of these past releases. I'Ve gone as far as renting out a hearse and a coffin from a creepy guy on Craigslist. For 220 bucks - and I will personally get delivered when the doors open at nighttime it's cheaper than advertising, it's cheaper than traditional marketing. If you saw a hearse and a coffin rolling up in front of a bakery that doesn't even sell real food, you would be so baffled that you just can't even move. You have to figure it out before you continue the rest of your night. So we've had some events where there's been a line of customers on the other side of the street, filled with people trying to figure out what the heck is going on and - and it's been great, so some things that have failed. I did a early April Fool's Day, joke and man. I got this new camera and I was like I'm gon na make a youtube video every day and I'm in Los Angeles, I'm like what can I do? Okay, I know that a customer of mine, a good friend Garrett he he now does. He does stunts for movies he's a stunt coordinator and I call them on most like hey I've got this idea. Can you get some stunt men over to my shop or stunt women any stunt people, and can you also, let me know where I can buy fake glass because I definitely want to set up a brawl in my store. I had an idea of having people walk inside and say: Johnny Cupcakes, there's no cupcakes here well. This is so stupid. You know and then they'll start messing up the hats and trying to start a fight yeah. So we did that we did it all in once. A fight - and I was pretending I was on my if you look up you - know huge brawl, Johnny Cupcakes, la fight or brawl it'll come up, but here I am doing the vlog and I'm like yeah. This is the shop and then these people come in in the background, and it was like perfectly timed. The brawl was great, there was some real blood and there was some fake blood and it was a blast now. The one thing that I failed to do, since there was a bit of a time difference. I forgot, I didn't - want to call home and wake up my parents and say hey guys. I came up with this last-minute idea, so my mom woke up to this video and she thought that that we got hurt and that there was this big fight going on and I felt like, oh my guy on my stomach, like I feel like puking right now. I just I should have been more aware, and I should have said something I had friends checking in on me everywhere, and it was not now I'm screwed if anybody murders me because no one ever believed it, but but the dangerous precedent. That'S an idea that has gone wrong. Of course, we've had products that have gone wrong like I've made the mistake of of getting beach towels made through a company that made our handbags because they said we can make anything mm-hmm. We got a thousand towels in which was a lot of money at the time. It was really you know. This is in the early early stages, not the towels. We have now, but we got them in their beautiful oversized towels and then we started getting returns anytime. Someone dried off the ink would come off on their body - oh my god, and that so that was a big one. We'Ve had umbrellas that were great, but every other umbrella would entirely shoot off like like the Penguins weapon and Batman. I I mean I did it. I did a, I did, a social experiment. I love doing these when I travel I'll, say: hey it's Johnny Cupcakes, I'm in San Francisco. If you meet me at this pizza shop at 4 p.m.
I'M gon na treat you to dinner. All you have to do is show up wearing a Johnny, cupcake, shirt and I'll think. Maybe five or six people will show up, maybe twelve. If I'm lucky, hundreds of people will show up have showed up and I've had to bring them into the park. We almost got in trouble with the city from taking up the sidewalks, and then I just ended up feeding people pizza the entire day and evening in in San Francisco, but I think one that was a little bit more tricky. I mean anytime, we have a release or a pop-up shop. We have to. We have to delicately make friends with the neighbors and say: hey, we might we don't know, but we might have a lot of people show up just want to give you a heads up and they'll say: yeah yeah cool, that's great, but then the night before people Will start camping out for a t-shirt, release and all of a sudden they're, not cool with it anymore, and we have two last-minute fine stanchions or get a security person or have an extra employee on board. That is, you know, watching that spot to make sure nobody blocks someone's entrance. There'S been other people who have been like. This is a great idea, there's people in front of my shop. Finally, I can hand out coupons and invite them in, but that is a few few and far between so the shooting umbrellas thing I mean you could also look at it like Johnny's, just having fun with it. Some of them actually explode and shoot out, and you congratulations. You got the special limited edition version that is true in on that note, while I'm holding onto my water bottle my friend Dave who's been helping me out today. He'S been he's been great with this one. Video that we did so basically when you order something when you start a t-shirt brand, it's it's so attractive to make more than just t-shirts, because you want to prove to the world that you're not just another t-shirt brand, so you'll try to push your boundaries and And spend all the money you have and and really make big mistakes, and but basically we had to order these water bottles and we had order of thousand or two thousand of them in order to get something custom-made. We got them in, they sold okay, but they they were not a big seller. So I came up with an idea: let's, let's have a contest, we'll call it. The Johnny, Cupcakes water bottle contest and you could win a $ 500 gift card. The only way you have to participate is just by submitting a video of what you can do with a Johnny Cupcakes water bottle and t feel free to look up. Johnny, Cupcakes water bottle contest on on YouTube and you'll find the official video. So what was great about this is people were making content for us and the only way that they could be a part of this contest is to buy a water bottle. All of a sudden. We did not have to discount those water bottles, we could sell them at full price, we sold through them really quickly. Once we launched this contest, I think the biggest mistake that I made during that was was we made a really cool video and I don't know that anyone made one that there was a couple really great ones, but we really went all out like I was using These as nunchucks and weapons and Dave did an amazing job and it looks like a video from the 1950s and it had me even hired a voiceover actor. So you know I might have, might have spent a little bit over my budget for that. But my problem is, I ever have really set budgets and have been that organized I've, just kind of been like: let's do something fun and sometimes it works out. Sometimes it doesn't, but having low overhead really helps with a buffer for those potential mistakes and experiments that you might have with your brand mm-hmm. That sounds very much in keeping with you know. Our mantra do more of what makes it happy, so it seems yummy like your earrin ideas, first kind of guy and let's make the business make sense after the fact. But yes, but I will say I am, I am so thankful - and I would not be here if it was not for teamwork and collaboration with other people, whether they're in the office or outside of the office as freelancers. They'Ve really helped me get better about planning and and really make this thing work. So it's definitely not just me. It is turned into a family-run business and when I say family, it's not just blood, it's also. It'S also. You know people who've been with us for the long haul super so for this next segment. I'M gon na ask you five words: it's free association and Johnny can't see the words you guys but we'll cut to in a second, so you guys can see. Let me get the game show Bell on it's, not the one all right there. We go so I'm gon na say something and you can say whatever comes to your mind, are you ready, Johnny, oh god, yeah all right, so your favorite band, favorite band, Deftones nice. Let me give you a where's, my dinger, okay, favorite city, favorite city, besides Boston, I'm gon na, say Austin, Texas right now, all right. Any reason why Austin have all the places you've been: oh, the the food, the vibe, you could just walk around in and it's great and I have all of my wife and I have been going there and we have some great memories. So it's a very special place, great, oh, who is your hero, my hero, I'd, say my parents, and and and after my parents, I'd say pee-wee Herman before the whole movie theater thing, and I was James Bond all right. This is an interesting mix of heroes there, but it's interesting, you say pee-wee Herman, because I get the whole pee-wee Herman Factory. Yes, it's it's all kind of I get. It totally makes sense, except for the whole thing yeah guilty indulgence. Oh I messed up. Okay, no fine! I messed up my own order guilty indulgence. First, I'm guilty indulgence. Oh my god guilty like things that I feel bad about. I love butter. I love I put more butter on my bread than the bread really yeah. That'S my favorite part about going out and there's salted, but you can add your own salt. If there's truffle butter, if there's honey butter, it's um makes me feel really good okay out of order, but here's a last one for you, I regret regret, is, as you mentioned, before, being a little too goofy earlier on behind the scenes. I wish that I put my business hat on and I think that my train of thought has shifted for the better. As far as being a little bit more organized and a little bit more serious was when I was when I got married, I met an auditor and she is she. She changed my life in so many ways. I used to be late for everything I you know. I just and I I I never questioned people's actions. I would always think of the best in everybody and I still do that. I haven't lost hope of that, but but but I will ask some some serious questions and I I like I was an experience that I did like I said I didn't go to school for business or any of this stuff, so I just was a goofy dude That had a t-shirt, Brant has a t-shirt brand and - and - and I don't regret anything, but if you know that's that's something that I think I failed at is having that balance of fun and serious earlier on perfect and with that we're gon na we're gon na Wrap up the show is that it's a time for us to wrap up to show you guys. I can hear my stomach going crazy right now. I'M hey you're a trooper man. We'Re set up with HD, so you, whatever you want, I'm here for you Matthew, doesn't want me to end it on the the regrets. Let'S end it on a positive thing: Matt, what's the best question you're seeing on social media right now, maybe we just perfect all right. So let me just relay that conversation to you for anybody, and this is how we're gon na end the show you guys for anybody that wants to start a t-shirt company today or a brand. What'S what advice would you give them? Oh, my goodness, that's a strong question that hit it on right. It is, I mean it is a very strong question because there's a lot of people starting t-shirt brands. I could tell you a thousand things to do and I could tell you a thousand things not to do. I think it's a very poor strategy to follow and unfollow people every single day and not leave you and you think. That'S how you're gon na build an audience on social media, and then you think those people are actually gon na buy your products it. You are wasting a lot of time and it's and it's making yourself look silly, so I would say: do not do that. I would say: try not to add the word clothing at the end of your name. I think it's unnecessary. We'Ve done it once in a while. I used to do it in the beginning, but it's just too much words, keeping it short and sweet. I would say you know definitely make time to network. Like I said, don't do everything on digital is great, but it's only more powerful and the most powerful when you can marry it with real-life relationships and then with a t-shirt brand or with whatever company. You start. I would say the biggest thing is making sure that you're doing at least 12 things that separate you from everybody else, whether it's your name, your packaging, your story, the type of events you do, the type of marketing you do I'd, say state transparents to show you Tell your story: all the time have fun. I think good humor and good design are contagious. They make people excited, so you don't have to be the most serious company, but you have to be original because people will call you out and and with any company you have to be original. You have to be authentic and yeah this, so there's so much more. I'M actually working on a book right now and I'm type I'm writing most of it on typewriter. But it's gon na be over a hundred short stories of helpful business tips for people and things that I've learned from succeeded from or screwed up with that, I think, will help a lot of people, and then you mentioned earlier briefly mention the speaking engagements. I, if you ever around, sometimes I'll, rent out a movie theater and put up tickets online and do an event for people. So sometimes I have talks that are open to the public. That will have customers come out and I'll hang out as late as I can to to help them with their businesses and then other times there. There are more private events, but whatever I can do, I run my own Instagram and Twitter for the worst or the better. So I can't get back to everybody, but these live streams are a great way to tackle a lot of questions at once and if you are following me on social media shoot me a question: keep it at one sentence: it'll help me write back immediately and if I don't write back, send it again four days later until I do, but the best way to talk to me is really to just to come meet me in person and and - and you know I'll I'll give you whatever I can give you help you out all Right, I'm gon na give you the cash register sound effect of that beautifully done. I wrote down these things and I was going through your list. It'S yeah in terms of advice is to find your story to tell your story and that's really important it. What separates you from being just another fill in the blank another t-shirt company, another soda company, and to create meaningful experiences around the way that your customers interact with you, and I think you've done a tremendous job on that. I do want to say this in terms of if you have a speaking engagement in Los Angeles and you're gon na talk about entrepreneurship or how to launch a brand we'd love to participate in some capacity. So let me know yeah and when you look in when you launch your book also, let me know because we'd be happy to share that on our social media channels as well, so guys we're gon na cut to the slide before we officially say goodbye to Johnny. So there's Johnny's information, you guys there's the logo Johnny Cupcakes area and you can hit them up on Instagram and Twitter at Johnny Cupcakes and for the competition that we're talking about one last time before we get out of here, hashing out you to define a fine Tune as well, how do we do that? That'S tricky you can't, but if I can, if I can pull inspiration from you and your team, it's it's being more active on YouTube, so YouTube /, Johnny Cupcakes. I think okay, so YouTube somebody dot-com / somewhere. I think you have to add the letter C /, Johnny, Cupcakes right, yeah, all right and then the hashtag is Johnny. Cupcakes live, and I just want to mention our next guest coming up on Wednesday is David Brier? It'S a brand intervention on Wednesday 11:00 a.m.
2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time this is David Brier he's gon na talk about branding, so we're gon na dive more into this is just a sneak peek and let's, let's get back to Johnny here Johnny. I just want to thank you on behalf of the entire dream team. It'S a it's a skeletal crew that we run here for the broadcast, but I want to thank you. Thank you so much on behalf of our entire audience for making this happen, and you excited to see crazy photos of people being serious in the bathroom yeah. You know what, let's, while we can we do that, let's okay search it all right, you search it, and maybe you can share something with us and you stick around a little bit. I'M gon na officially wrap the show, but we'll still be on air, and you can still comment. Johnny just keep looking all right, so I'm gon na do. What we need to do is end the show so, okay. I know I idea this guy. I don't know if I mentioned it earlier, but my store my store. Not only do we put shirts and refrigerators, but we make it smell like real frosting and we've had some people come in a friend of mine. I told them that we mixed vanilla, frosting with white paint and he was like really yeah. It'S like yeah. You lick the wall, you could taste them a little bit, he licked the wall, but I don't know we. We actually put these car fresheners, sometimes in our heater vents, and we I used to buy so many of these fresheners that I started just making my own car fresheners that we now sell and then our t-shirts and pastry boxes. So you get that you leave here. Pranking other people as you're walking down the street, so it works that but anyways sorry look up. So you look it up and we'll hang out for a second but I'm gon na. Do, though I'm gon na roll, then titles here. So, let's think Johnny guys. If there's only, you can only hear me clapping, but there's all there's two other people here next to me, so we're gon na clap. Oh, you know what I have a real applause track. There we go there. You go all right, let's get out of here and let's do them: