Listen to the show to learn how you can win Spider Chalk products! Enter by March 15, 2021.
I am so excited to share this show with you. The first guest interview in the history of UnCommie Goods. I absolutely loved doing this show, and learned a lot. I bet you’ll love it too, even if you’re not into chalking up your hands to lift some heavy weights!
Read on below, or listen to the show to learn how to enter the giveaway contest sponsored by me! Yes, I love and use Spider Chalk and am excited to personally supply the prize.
Not only do I love this company’s story, I am a huge fan of their products which I use nearly every day.
The guest for this episode of UnCommie Goods is James Hobson, the Founder and CEO of Spider Chalk, the only 100% American source for chalk. That’s right, and not just any chalk. This is block, powder, or liquid chalk for getting a good grip on anything you need it for, such as weightlifting, gymnastics, rock climbing, pole dancing, and even some sports I never heard of before!
How I found their product. I had a problem. The gyms were closed due to the pandemic. As a gym rat, I needed to workout.
All I had was my 50 lb kettlebell.
After 15 to 20 kettlebell swings, my hands get sweaty and I was pretty sure the 50lbs of iron would slip out of my hand and break my apartment. No problem, I just need some chalk. But does a liquid chalk exist? Yes! and I found some online!
The first product I bought (not from SpiderChalk) to solve that problem was made in China. I didn’t know that until I received it. I was annoyed, and determined to find an American manufacturer of chalk. Spider Chalk was my savior.
After talking to my guest, I agree with his statement “I hope it encourages other entrepreneurs to take a leap of faith into manufacturing here in the USA.”
It certainly requires persistence and never giving up.
Here are some highlights, insights and lessons I learned in this interview with James Hobson, founder and CEO of Spider Chalk.
1) How the fear of breaking my apartment while working out, lead me to find this amazing small American company, with a product I love and use nearly every day. Even better, there’s a great story behind their success.
2) How in a country of 350 million people, and how can there be no Uncommie (American Made) options available of a product?
One of the biggest barriers is finding suppliers that are willing to do smaller scale manufacturing runs.
For example, say you have an idea for a product, and you want to test it out with a few hundred to to make and sell. Most of these manufacturers want to do a 10,000, not 200. Where’s that oomph, passion, and curiosity to help fellow entrepreneurs create, make, and sell a 100% USA made product?
3) A lesson in persistence. It took James 18 months to find the equipment and develop a process to make the highest quality chalk on the market.
4) You might need to start digging deeper to find your answer. James spent a lot of time on pages 9-26 of Google search results. The top results might not have your answer, dig deeper.
“I never lost hope. I won’t give up until we figure it out”
5) Being crazy enough just might be your competitive advantage. James rightly told himself, “No one in the world is crazy enough to do this”.
6) You might find success in the most unexpected places. In this case it was 75 year old farmer with a “machine”.
7) There’s a business. and there’s a business that makes money. Those are two different things.
8) There’s a great lesson in letting your team figure out how to be productive, and focus on the results, not necessarily following a schedule. In this case, Spider Chalk’s manufacturing team figured out how to multiply and scale production volume on their own, and they work on their own schedule.
9) The power of not selling your company. Sometimes staying small, profitable, and autonomous is the better option. It allows you keeps the human factor in your business, and not automate the people out of jobs.
10) A key to success is making and marketing a product that has a passionate fan base. It sounds obvious, in this case CrossFitters, powerlifters, weightlifters, gymnasts, and rock climbers, are passionate about their pursuits, and it fed into their enthusiasm for Spider Chalk.
11) The trials and tribulations of finding a supplier to start making US sourced goods.
12) James shared some strong opinions on the real definition of entrepreneur. Are you really making a product, or is it a money making scheme? A lot of self described “Entrepreneurs” don’t want to work, they just want to make money. This is why there should be two definitions of entrepreneur.
The perils of social media, leading people to want the success without the hard work.
13) “It’s a privilege to work.”
14) How the pandemic was a huge blessing to Spider Chalk. Tariffs and blocked Chinese imports led to a chalk crunch, and guess who was the only American made supplier of chalk? That’s right, Spider Chalk!
15) Dealing with the big box retailers can be a pain, and not good for business. Getting a huge order might not be the way to grow. There’s a right way to scale, and working with the wrong retailer can destroy your business. Beware of the false promises the huge companies make.
16) Spider Chalk partnered with a lot of retailers that are passionate about their brand. It’s important to build that strong relationship with your partners. In turn, the retailers do the marketing for Spider Chalk.
17) Spider Chalk had tremendous success during pandemic, which gave them the opportunity to give back to the community in the way they want to, such as housing for employees, and giving their employees great jobs with flexible hours.
James talks about it in his blog post here. The last paragraph brings tears to my eyes.
18) There’s non-fitness uses of chalk. Have you ever heard of Pickleball? Apparently pickle ball players love Spider Chalk. Other uses include shooting and pole dancing!
And we wrap it up with advice with aspiring entrepreneurs to start making a 100% made in the USA goods, and how you can build the life you want. You might not become billionaire, but there’s a good change you’ll be happy and proud of the business you made, and living life on your terms.