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SPI 783: How Kevin Espiritu Converted His Backyard into an 8-Figure Gardening Empire

As creators, starting a physical products business might seem daunting, but the possibilities are huge. Is there a future where something like MrBeast’s Feastables puts companies like Hershey out of business? Will influencers eventually run the biggest brands in the world?

In this episode, I chat with a solo blogger turned empire builder. My friend Kevin Espiritu of Epic Gardening is back on the show to give us an inside look at the 10x growth he’s pulled off since our last chat. I had him on in episode 489, and the way he’s scaled his brand in the last three years is bananas!

Kevin and I dive into everything that’s played a role in his success. We discuss affiliate marketing, drop shipping, and creating original products on your own or through partnerships with other companies.

We also dive into Kevin’s content creation schedule. His brand puts out a wild 120 to 180 articles per month. But that’s not all. Kevin and his team publish across several YouTube channels, with some videos requiring months of shooting and preparation!

This is an epic conversation about reaching and exceeding your most outrageous goals. Listen in and enjoy!

Today’s Guest

Kevin Espiritu

Kevin Espiritu is the founder and CEO of Epic Gardening, the world’s most-followed gardening brand and online garden store. As a self-taught gardener, Espiritu has spent over a decade producing educational gardening content across YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, The Beet podcast, and the Epic Gardening website.

He’s amassed over 3.6 million social media followers, 11 million podcast downloads, and 42 million blog visits. Additionally, Espiritu has authored three books, Field Guide to Urban Gardening, Grow Bag Gardening, and Epic Homesteading.

Kevin currently lives in San Diego, California, at his Epic Homestead. His favorite plants are beans and peas.

You’ll Learn


SPI 783: How Kevin Espiritu Converted His Backyard into an 8-Figure Gardening Empire

Kevin Espiritu: The future is not where companies need the creators, the future is where the creators are the companies and these companies who don’t catch up just get deleted by creators.

If you look at what MrBeast is doing, it’s like Hershey actually probably should be worried at this point. They should have had someone like him, but they don’t. And so they forced his hand to make his own thing, right? And he’s actually doing pretty well. And so they’re at a point where if they’re like ten percent of the market, like that’s significant. And that’s a real danger to a big incumbent candy company.

Pat Flynn: Back in the summer of 2021, we had Kevin Espiritu from Epic Gardening here on the show, and he gave us a great insight on how he turned his blog into a little mini empire selling products and building out this brand called Epic Gardening that had millions of YouTube subscribers now products of his own.

And I wanted to bring him back on because that empire has grown by like 10x, probably even more. He has recently acquired companies, partnered with companies, and does a lot more than affiliate marketing. So if you are a brand and you have even a small but loyal following, and you’re curious about how you could potentially work with other brands together to create your own products, to sell your own products, to drop ship products, well, then this is the episode for you.

We’re also going to talk about content and products and how they kind of play a role with each other as well as what it’s actually like to go this big. We often talk about staying lean, staying small, staying nimble, but there’s also the other side of the equation and the benefits of that going big, scaling up.

And how to do that, but also the cons about that as well. We’re going to talk about all of that with Kevin today in this update. So I hope you enjoy this session. Session 783 of the SPI podcast. Here he is, Kevin Espiritu.

Announcer: You’re listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network, a show that’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, he knows the secret to cooking perfect rice involves the first knuckle on your pointer finger, Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: Kevin, welcome back to SPI man. Thanks for being here.

Kevin Espiritu: Thanks for having me, dude.

Pat Flynn: A lot has happened since you’ve been on the show last.

You now have I think I saw a headline the other day, you have a 30 million empire now in the gardening space, which is insane. How do you feel on this end of it now, starting as a solo blogger to now kind of empire builder?

Kevin Espiritu: Man, it’s, it’s very hard to be on the quote other side, although it doesn’t really feel like there’s another side.

It just kind of feels like what you’re doing, you know, and you put your head up every so often and things are built. But yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s been a wild journey. I think the last time we talked. We were maybe just after raising some funding or just prior. I think it was probably just after. And so there was a lot of building yet to do, and we had some acquisitions in mind and those acquisitions are now complete.

And so that’s part of where that empire comes from because you can’t really build things that fast sometimes. And so we, we did purchase a seed company and that’s probably the biggest change since the last time we talked.

Pat Flynn: Purchased a seed company. You have a amazing story that I heard about this and how I think the company was looking to sell and somehow you got on their radar.

Can you tell that story?

Kevin Espiritu: Sure. Yeah. So the company is called Botanical Interests. I have the hat on if you’re watching the video and it’s a brand that’s beloved in the gardening space. It’s something that, it’s a seed company I grew for, I don’t know, about 10 years now. There’s beautiful packets. You go into a nursery, there’s like this white packet with like this hand illustration on it done by a botanical artist, which is a real type of drawing.

It’s like a subcategory of, of illustration. And I’d grown them for years and we were looking for basically a seed company to purchase because we were like, it’s very difficult to get into that business from scratch. And. It’s one of the things that in the gardening world, you love to grow every single year.

You know, you’re looking through the catalog. If you’re not a gardener, what happens is like December, a catalog will arrive at your doorstep, maybe five catalogs if you’re addicted like I am. And then you kind of comb through them over the holiday season and you’re like circling the things you want to grow.

And then you put your order in and then the seeds come and you start growing those out for the season. And so it’s just a heritage part of a gardener’s life. So when we looked for seed companies, but Botanical Interest was one that was on the radar and they were interested in selling, it was a founder led company that had been running for about 29 years.

And I think they were just at a point where they were like, we need to find the right successor to hand the reins to, cause we’re ready to retire. And we put our hat in the ring metaphorically. And I guess literally where went out there to meet the guys and shook my hand. He said, Oh yeah, let me grab a photo.

I’ve got a friend who’s a big fan of your YouTube channel. And so immediately I was kind of like, okay, like maybe I have an in here that another purchaser might not gave me some swag, one of which was the hat. And so then I told my investors, I was like, you know what? I’m just going to wear the hat for like six to eight months, however long it takes to get the deal done.

And I know they’ll see it because I know they watch the channel. And so maybe that’ll make a difference. Maybe it won’t, but I’m going to do it. And so when we went through the bidding process for the business, we threw our number in and we weren’t the highest number out there, but they went with us. And I think part of it was the fact that we cared about the brand.

We were gardeners. We weren’t like some random company coming in that wanted to like totally transform everything and ruin what they built. But then when we did the closing party and kind of hung out with them, one of the founders was like, man, you don’t know how much wearing that hat made the difference in the end.

No way. And I was like, I knew it. I knew that that was going to make a difference because it’s what would have worked on me. You know, if I was selling, let’s say Epic Gardening in the future, and someone actually showed they cared and it wasn’t just like a business thing. Then I would have, maybe I would have taken a lesser payment.

And so that’s why I still wear it today. It’s kind of like my little homage to, to that technique.

Pat Flynn: I love that. And it’s your company now, or you share it with the group that you’re a part of now. So when you do a deal like this and you now own the seed company, do the employees stay there and they’re like, it’s just, on paper, just the owner is a different person now. Is that how it works? Or it’s a completely different world to me, you know? And I think if you could offer any sort of insight into what happens behind the scenes or what this looks like, and like, are you doing extra work now? Or what kinds of decisions are you making?

Are you the CEO of this seed company? What’s going on exactly?

Kevin Espiritu: Yeah. I mean, there’s a lot of ways you could do it, right? So you could run it where the entities are still separate and you sort of hire someone that’s sort of a sub CEO or a GM of that business unit, or you could fold it in. I mean, the first decision is like, does the brand stay or does the brand not stay if you’re making some sort of acquisition like that, you know, we’ve made smaller acquisitions.

Like a blog, we purchased a blog and we ended up just folding the blog into our blog. And so the brand of that blog kind of vanished. Right, and the person we purchased the blog from is just running our entire editorial operations at Epic now. So that would be an example of an acquisition where you go into it looking to fold something in and sort of fully absorb it into your own brand. But in the case of the seed company, it wasn’t like that because the brand name is the company, right? I mean, everyone knows Botanical Interest. They know the packets, they know the logo and they love it. And so do I. And so I would, wouldn’t have wanted to do anything with that.

We did end up hiring a vice president of operations to help staff it up because with the founders both leaving, you know, someone has to be the go forward manager of the business and then unlike an entity level, there’s a lot of things you could do. It’s almost too compliant. I don’t even understand some of the stuff that you have to do like to combine the entities and all that.

But yeah, I mean, I’m the CEO of the overall company of which Botanical Interest is one of our brands. So that’s kind of the way that, that we approached it. And as far as like team, et cetera, I mean, I think that’s part of the reason that they went with us in the first place is, you know, let’s say you’re another seed company that wants to purchase, a smaller seed company, like some, maybe some of the other bidders where I don’t really know who was bidding on the business, but let’s imagine that’s the case.

You don’t need the team then, right? I mean, you’ve, you probably have your own team. You might have your own warehouse, you might have your own facilities. And a lot of people would probably end up leaving, which is, is not what hopefully you’d want as a founder trying to take care of your team. As you exit the business in that case, You know, we kept every single person on the team when we initially transitioned, and you know, there’s been some changes since, but the intention was to keep everyone.

Pat Flynn: There’s a lot of talk here that’s brand new for a person who just might be a blogger, right? Like VPs and acquisitions and equity and all this stuff. Like, how has your life changed in terms of your day to day and what is on your mind, thoughts racing through your head throughout the day. Tell me how it’s changed and how does that make you feel?

Cause on one hand, I mean, this is so exciting. This is the dream, but then I can envision a, another kind of person who might say that this is wild. Like this isn’t what I got in here for. And like, is it right? I don’t know. Where do you sit with it?

Kevin Espiritu: I’m of two minds. I mean, I think It is the dream. There’s also things that come with the dream that you go, well, I didn’t realize that was part of the dream.

Right, so, you know, the, the, the people management part of it, which is something that was new to me, because back when we met Epic was, you know, Me and two guys, you know, when you came out to that, that sale, we had that one day, I’m actually still speaking by the way, on that scarlet device you gave me. So I’m still rocking that that podcast device that you gave me.

Yeah. I mean, it’s the sort of context with which you look through the business changes. Like back when I was blogging, I was writing. Managing a writer and maybe an assistant or something. And I was just talking to them all the time. And there’s no communication breakdown because there’s like three people, you know?

And if you’re listening, maybe there’s one person in the business that you have. So obviously you know everything, but at the scale you get to when you do an acquisition or you hire teams and stuff, it’s really a lot of time spent thinking about, am I communicating the vision to the right people? And then are those people taking that and bringing that to their teams?

And are they driving that forward. And so it’s a lot more about people than it is about the individual, like tasks you might do. You know, I’ll still film videos, I’ll ideate on concepts and stuff that’s, and then I have to switch my brain into a different type of mode. To go talk to my team. Like I’ll go talk to my guy running the blog and I’ll be like, Hey, what’s on your mind?

You know, you’re, you’re more of a manager and just wasn’t my skillset and it still isn’t to some degree my core. And so the way that we solve that is I hired a president for the business who effectively acts as like the day to day operator helping me with all that. Who’s just way more experienced than I am at all of that.

Cause I don’t think a creator, unless you’re like a rare talent even wants to be this like deep people manager because it’s not what got you where you are, you know, right?

Pat Flynn: Right. How did you find that president?

Kevin Espiritu: So we did a pretty extensive hunt like we we used everything in the book. My investors helped out We used a recruiting service.

It ended up we ended up finding him from a recruiting service.

Pat Flynn: Nice. I want to go back to Something that we did discuss the last time you were here and this was Birdies Raised Beds. This was a company out of Australia that you became known for. You had a blog and a YouTube channel with a large audience.

And you connected with this company to create some sort of deal and become the U. S. distributor. And you seem to have taking a, taken a number of other deals similar to that since then. I just saw one that was for Cedar related raised beds, like Cedar material. And then you had another product, like literally two days before that, what did those deals look like?

Cause I think this is the biggest opportunity for those listening. It’s if you have an audience and a following, you. You can connect with a product, perhaps it’s a physical product and do something with them. But what does that something look like? What are the deal structures look like in that case?

Cause it’s not just an affiliate situation, right?

Kevin Espiritu: No, we don’t really do any affiliate stuff anymore. I mean, it still exists. Cause like the blog still has links on it or YouTube still has some links here and there, but we just don’t focus on it at all. I can talk through all three actually. They’re actually all different.

So the Birdies deal, which we talked about last time I was on the show, right? That’s a exclusive distribution deal. So we are the exclusive distributor of that brand here in the States because they come from Australia, like you mentioned. And that was the initial product I ever offered at Epic because I was like, I had a few samples of it and they kept being shown in content and people kept saying, what are those?

What are those? What are those? And so I was like, And so I just bugged Birdies in Australia until they let me sell them here in America. And that did really well. So that would just be called a distribution deal. We’ve become the exclusive distributor. So we kind of have that brand here in America.

Pat Flynn: Is there a contract in place to solidify that exclusivity?

Because that’s a benefit to you and your brand is to be the only ones to be able to to share that. And then do you get like a cut for each one that’s sold? Do they dropship for you?

Kevin Espiritu: Yeah. So you definitely have to have a contract if you’re doing something like that, like for sure, because you’ll have to govern sales numbers and what does and doesn’t count as breaching an agreement.

You know, if someone buys some and sells them again or whatever, there’s all these crazy little edge cases that you would get into there. But yeah, what we do there is we, we literally buy them from Birdies in Australia, they put them on a container and we bring them to our warehouse. So we own the inventory.

We actually purchase it.

Pat Flynn: Oh, wow. And you get it at like a wholesale price essentially, or like it? Yeah. At a

Kevin Espiritu: wholesale price. Yeah. I mean, effectively it’s like buying a product, you know, from a manufacturer and selling it as, as a retailer. And we have, fortunately, since we’ve got such a good relationship with them, we have the ability to influence them, what the product itself is, right? Because, Hey, we, we’d actually prefer this material, or can you do this color and all that kind of stuff. When you get into the other products, there’s basically like a few different styles of relationships you could have. You could have the one that I just described where it’s basically manufacturer retailer.

You could have the drop ship one that you mentioned, Pat, where. Yeah. Let’s imagine I’m selling, I don’t know, like a big plastic planter or something like that, that I don’t make myself. I don’t even buy from the manufacturer. I just have it on my site. And when someone places an order, it ships from, let’s say the manufacturer’s facility.

That’d be more of a drop ship situation. We do a little bit of that, mostly because there’s some really cool products we’d like. That we know our audience enjoys that there’s just no economic reason to buy it. It’s more efficient for the customer, for us to ship it from where the manufacturer is, right.

And then there’s some of the stuff you mentioned, like the cedar beds that we just launched. That’s a fully custom product that, you know, I flew up to the facility, it’s on hood river in Oregon and customized every part of that. That one’s like, that’s just our product effectively. And it’s similar with the soil test kit that we, that we launched recently where that was the one, yeah, the soil test kit, which I hope it does well.

It’s really fun. Cause weirdly, like if you’re a backyard gardener, I know you did some, especially during the pandemic, you don’t know how good or bad your soil is because most of us just live in suburban homes. And so if you can just scoop a bag of soil, send it in and you get a report back on like what’s good and bad about it.

That’s the whole idea there. And so again, like that’s our product, but we don’t own a soil lab. And so we contract out the testing to an actual reputable soil lab because you probably don’t want us doing that. We’re not like soil scientists, right? But we can collect the data, send it back to you and give you recommendations.

And so that’s another example where it’s like, it’s effectively our product. It’s just that a portion of it is not done by, by Epic itself.

Pat Flynn: That sounds A amazing, but also B complicated when, you know, beginner or mid level YouTubers, creators hear this. I know that part of them goes, this is amazing. It would be so cool to do this.

And you might even be thinking of companies that you can already begin working with, but then the reality sets in of, well, okay, how do I even begin this? Who do I even talk to? How did you know that the soil lab thing that you could reach out to would say yes to this and like who to reach out to the opportunities are there.

And of course it’s those who figure it out who reap the benefits. So can you help us figure it out? Like how does one go through the process of getting to work with a company in this capacity, where it is a little bit more involved than just, this is, this is why affiliate marketing is great because you just need a link and that’s it.

And then you can just focus on marketing, but this is where the bigger rewards come in. This is where you get to like what Kevin’s doing, like literally influence or even create the products with another company that would have been like, if Caleb and I with the SwitchPod, we didn’t just like invent it from scratch, but rather we worked with another company in a space and said, Hey, this is what we would love to create. And I mean, we probably could have done it that way if we knew how, how does it even work?

Kevin Espiritu: Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s a really good question. Cause I think. Even me listening to myself a few years back, I’d be like, bro, what are you talking about? Like, this doesn’t make any sense, you know?

Cause there’s so many different ways that we do it now. And the thing I want to stress in when listening is like, we have a pretty large team now, you know, Epic’s a team of, you know, 50 plus people. And so we can do a lot now. Right, but at the start, it’s, it’s about keeping it simple. So like, I’ll use an example that isn’t me.

There’s a woman that has a YouTube channel called Aquarium Info. She got like 3 million subscribers. I don’t exactly know what she’s doing as far as some of the product stuff that we’re talking about, Pat. But when I look at her business, I go, she makes these really viral, very attention grabbing videos on all sorts of different aquarium setups.

Like she’ll build one with like a tunnel through it. And then the fish can go from one thing to the other. She’ll build one out of Legos or inside a case.

Pat Flynn: Oh, that’s great.

Kevin Espiritu: And. To me, I go, well, what’s the most obvious thing anyone watching that would want in the world of the physical? And it’s probably just like your very first aquarium starter kit.

Right? And so then the question is, okay, well, what is the best way for me to do that? And it’s, it’s not even best in the sense of like, there’s only one answer. Like you said, if you have a certain desire, then maybe affiliate is, is the way to go. If you’re just like, look, I just don’t even want to bother with this whole product thing.

Well, then she probably could make a great living selling like whatever the best kit is for someone else. Right. And that’s just called affiliate marketing. Then the next step would be to say, well, maybe I want to do a little bit more than you might email those people and say, Hey, look, I have this really big aquarium channel.

I’ve already actually been selling some of your products via affiliate and I make some good money there, but I think my audience would really like it if it was made in this color or if it had this shape or these things were added to it or this or that. Do you want to do something with me and we can have like a co branded kit or something like that?

Right? So that’d be like level two and they would probably jump at the chance or they’d be, they’d be stupid if they didn’t. Right? Cause. Where are they getting their customers from? Probably this person. And then level three would be to say, Hey, actually, I want you to just make the kit I want, right? I want it to look exactly like this.

Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. And then you have your own line and you don’t even have to sort of co brand. It’s like, Hey, this is the aquarium info starter kit. Level four past that would be. Actually, I’m just going to go to the person who makes the kit for you, you being the aquarium company, right? Cause they probably don’t make it themselves.

They probably have a manufacturer and you go straight to them and say, Hey, I have this big YouTube channel. I want this kit. And this is where you got to get into like how to design the product. Like you mentioned with the SwitchPod, or we have these seed trays that we sell that we design ourselves and we send it to a mold maker who makes the mold, we send that mold to a facility who presses the trays.

So it’s like end to end. We made that whole thing, you know? Yeah.

Pat Flynn: Trays are great by the way. Yeah. Yeah.

Kevin Espiritu: They’re, they’re awesome. And so you can kind of see how basically what you end up doing is you start going further and further down the chain to the point where you are a product manufacturer that just happens to have a very large audience or some sort of channel that you’re getting those, those customers from.

Right. And so, you know, that’s what we try to do because why would we not want to give our customers the fairest price that we can and the best quality that we can. And we only think we can do that if we can control how that product is made. And so that’s kind of like the levels that you could stair step up.

And I’ve been through every single one, like I mentioned, you know, I did affiliate way back in the day. I did the drop ship. I did just like reselling something that already existed. We’ve customized products. Like there’s a product that we sell called a green stock vertical planter. It’s like this big vertical garden that all we do with them is we do a custom Epic color because we want to sell a color that’s just unique, right? But we don’t like customize the product, but you can only get that color with us.

Pat Flynn: Where do you buy that on your side or on there?

Kevin Espiritu: You can buy that only on our store. Yeah. That color is only available on our store.

Pat Flynn: Orders come in through your store, but then they get then pushed to that company to then ship out.

Kevin Espiritu: No, in this case with the green stock stuff, that’s when we’re like, we buy that inventory and warehouse it. Yeah. Ship it out when we ship it out. And that’s, that’s a whole nother thing we can talk about if you want to. It’s like, do you do that or do you not? Right. We kind of have to now because when we purchased the seed company, it has a warehouse and they pack seed.

So we figured we, we might as well do it ourselves.

Pat Flynn: Dude, that’s wild, bro. This is, this is a masterclass on like leveling up beyond just affiliate marketing with how companies and brands can partner with others. I mean, we’re seeing this in a space now a lot more, who was it? MKBHD with dbrands, right? And the things between, and, and Ridge as well.

So. What do you think he’s up to there? I mean, he’s got a deal, they’re paying him money, I’m sure, to influence design of it, I would imagine, right?

Kevin Espiritu: Yeah, I mean, I think the way that worked, if I remember right, so Sean Frank’s the CEO of Ridge, and I think a year ish ago, he tweeted out, I will pay a creator a million dollars to join Ridge.

As like our, you know, flagship audience person, right? Advisors. And then he, yeah, something like that. And then like two weeks ago, he announced MKBHD as that person. And I was like, oh wow, genius move. So if I had to guess, I don’t know anything about that deal, but I would guess Marquez got a good chunk of equity in Ridge.

I would guess he has some upfront payment or some sort of economics on the product lines he develops with Ridge. And that’s probably the way that that works, because I mean, in Marquez’s case, I don’t know him, I don’t know his business or anything like that, but I don’t think he’s running his own products and like manufacturing them and standing up a warehouse and stuff.

So on his side, he’s probably like, yeah, this is a really great and efficient way for me to get into this game with one of the best brands in the space. So it’s like the perfect partnership.

Pat Flynn: I mean, he’s got his, the subset of his channel all about cars and vehicles. He even did a video recently where I think it was about a Fisker and it kind of is ruining Fisker right now.

Kevin Espiritu: I saw the stock go.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, I mean the power of an influencer it’s, it’s crazy. But this is how valuable you and the audience that you’ve built is. And for you, Kevin, I mean this is, it’s incredible, and it’s you had touched on this. We can go back to it. The idea of having to mass purchase these things and put them in a warehouse and then ship them out.

I mean, this is where probably a lot of the number of employees are working is in the fulfillment center and such. So a warehouse space, I mean, that’s just how do you know how many things to buy? That’s the first question I have is if you’re Working on these products. And what are you basing your numbers off of in terms of order number?

Because I know there’s some benefit to ordering more. You get them for cheaper, but then you also don’t want them just sitting in a warehouse, taking up real estate that you’re paying for monthly. My head starts to explode.

Kevin Espiritu: Trust me, mine too. It’s wild. So I can talk through it like when we first started selling the Birdies beds.

What I did is I bought about a 35,000 container worth of those beds, like a shipping container. One of those things you see on the back of a big truck, right? This was a 20 foot container, which is like half the size of a normal one. So I was like really a small buy, but that was like half the money I had in my life at that point in time.

And so I was like, okay, it’s pretty risky. But I just bought about 500 units. I had no data, right? I had no idea what they’d sell cause I hadn’t sold anything. But I was like, my audience is this, they keep asking about this. I have 500. What does my gut say? Do I think I can sell the 500? And my answer was yes.

Right. So when I sold them, they sold in like a week before they even got to America. I was like, okay, well, I, I was wrong in a good way. I was wrong in the sense of I under counted how many I think I could sell. So that’s the way I approached it first.

Pat Flynn: You kind of pre sold them kind of before they arrived.

I mean, you paid for them up front, but. Before they arrive, you, you collected money.

Kevin Espiritu: Yeah, I paid for half up front. And that’s another thing, Pat, is like the terms at which you buy things is really important once you get into this world. Cause, you know, when you look at a company like Apple, Apple buys things on like net 180 terms.

So, you know, you give them the product or like, let’s say the screen for the iPhone or something, they pay you six months later and they say, thank you. Right? And so they have the ability to do that and think about that’s just like a six month interest free loan on that inventory. And so your terms start to get really important.

And in this case, I had 50 percent upfront. So I owed half of that 35, 000 right away. And then the other half, I owed one third of it every month for three months. So the others call it 18,000. I owed basically 6, 000 a month for three months. And that was my manufacturer’s way of saying Okay. Hey, we know you’re like getting your feet wet here.

We’ll give you some break on this payment just in case like this doesn’t sell or whatever. Right. And so negotiating that even becomes important. But to get back to the inventory question, like how do you know how many to buy? You kind of don’t at the start, you’re just taking a stab and you’re making your best guess.

But as you start to get data, you’ll understand how to start forecasting inventory. So like in our case, we’re very seasonal. Gardening is very seasonal in the spring. You’re buying in December, like no one’s really buying. Right. And so we have like a demand curve that our team puts together and they say, okay, well last year we sold this many of this, this many of this, this many of this right in each month.

And then you’ve programmed some level of growth in the business, right? So you’re like, Oh, well next year we want to grow by 25 percent or something. So you go, well, we should probably order at least 25 percent more of these. And so you’re kind of tracking all these different things. And that’s where like, unless you’re a whiz at it, you need someone to help you on your demand planning or inventory planning because you could actually really get stuck out.

Like if you overbuy to your point, not only do you owe more money, but you’re not selling them because you overbought, right? There’s not enough demand for the supply that you have and it’s sitting in a warehouse and you’re paying on that. And so you could really start to get yourself in a hard, hard position.

Pat Flynn: We see these things everywhere. I bought five of them, five of the Birdies beds, because they’re great. A couple of mine were probably on one of those containers when, when you sold it. I mean, I, I feel like more of this should be happening because people aren’t willing to step up to try to make it happen.

I mean, at these companies with products, they need you as a you have that direct connection and that trust with the audience. It’s just, it’s just so scary. How else might you be able to mitigate that risk when, when trying something like this, is there like a small way to begin just to kind of get your feet wet?

Kevin Espiritu: Yeah. The smallest way I think is, let’s say you’re a blogger in the cooking space or something like that. And you’re making a good amount of money on like Amazon affiliates, which is something we did back in the day. Right? I mean, one thing I, you might do there is you might just like, go look at your Amazon affiliates report for the last year or something and just see what units you sold the most stuff.

Like if you sold thousands of this little silicone spatula or something, or if you sold, you know, hundreds of this other product that you get a good commission on it, let’s say, well, then, you know, your audience wants that from you, right? Cause they’re buying it. Just, they’re not buying it from you. And then you could go to that company and say, Hey, look, you know, I’ve already sold like 5,000 of these things for you last year.

Like, why don’t we just do something together? And you could say, I don’t want to do something like I just described where you’re like buying all this inventory and shipping it across the world and all that. But I just want like my custom color, or I want, you know, the Pat Flynn Epic spatula or whatever.

Right, and you can say, why don’t we just test this out? Let’s just make a few, just whatever de risks it. But I agree, Pat, like not only should this be happening more, like I’m even more extreme than I think you described where I’m like, the future is not where companies need the creators, the future is where the creators are the companies and these companies who don’t catch up just get deleted by creators.

Like if you look at what Mr. Beast is doing, it’s like, Hershey’s actually probably should be worried at this point. They should have had someone like him, but they don’t. And so they forced his hand to make his own thing, right? And he’s actually doing pretty well. And so like they’re at a point where if they’re like 10 percent of the market, like that’s significant.

And that’s a real danger to like a big incumbent candy company.

Pat Flynn: Have you had feasibles like the new formula?

Kevin Espiritu: I haven’t tried the new one yet. I tried the old one.

Pat Flynn: The new one is so good. I’m not even kidding. Yeah, it’s actually my family and I, cause we have the original formula and it was like, Oh, this is okay.

And it’s kind of cool. That’s Mr. Beast’s thing. And we saw it at Walmart. And then he had this great video promoting the new recipe, which we’ll get into on the tail end of this conversation about branding and how do you put these products into your brand and integrate them into your marketing and such. But we tried the formula, the new one.

It’s, it’s actually really good. Like Hershey’s should be worried.

Kevin Espiritu: Yeah. I’m going to try the. Deez Nuts, new formula. Cause that’s my, that’s my jam. I love Reese’s. So I want to see if it’s better than Reese’s. Yeah.

Pat Flynn: They had to change the name of that. Did they really? They did a company who owned Dee’s Nuts. Oh, wow. It’s like a peanut company basically was like, Hey, you’re using our name, even though it was D E E Z nuts in a complete meme and meant something different. So they had to change the name and it’s like, I don’t know what the new flavor name is, but anyway.

Kevin Espiritu: I just found grab Dee’s nuts. I mean, honestly, it’s kind of the same joke just with his grandma in the photo.

But yeah, it’s a bummer. But yeah, trademarks are real, real thing. It’s a real thing.

Pat Flynn: When it comes to marketing these products that you have in your empire, how much planning are you doing? Like, okay, this month we need to talk about the seed company three times and here are the three videos that they’re going to be involved in.

And then here’s our new cedar plank raised bed. We’re going to do two integrations in our own videos about that. And of course, the seed trays, we need to always have my own product in the background and ready at hand. How deep are you thinking about the integration of your own products or these partner products into your content?

Kevin Espiritu: Very. It’s like a big debate all the time because, you know, the thing that makes It work or made it work in the first place was that people love our content, right? Like they’d love to come and learn about gardening and connect with us. And the second you start to sell anything, you do get a portion of the audience.

It’s like, Oh, he’s selling out or this or that. Right. And it’s like, okay, I understand that. Trust me. But if you do it too much, then you really are like, then you really are just. Taking from the piggy bank of your audience too much. And I don’t, I don’t like to do that. And so we sort of battle between the content team that we have and the commerce team that we have say, Oh, you know, this new Cedar raised beds coming out, what are you guys going to do for us to launch it?

And we’re like, okay, we’re going to do. What makes this most sense for the audience? Like we’re not going to just come on and have a YouTube video come out and says like, we made a new raised bed, go buy it. So what we’re going to do in that particular case is as an example is I’m going to use that bed in a video about square foot gardening, which is this really simple method of gardening for beginners.

And it’s easy to teach that in a wooden bed versus a metal bed cause you can like create these little grid lines. And so I’m just using the bed in an educational piece and I’ll do a quick integration. I’ll say like, you know, by the way, guys, these, this is our new Cedar line bed. And I’ll say, here’s what we did to make it.

We’re really proud of it. If you like it, go ahead and check it out. It’s X percent off right now. And then I just won’t mention it again. And so my belief is where a lot of these creator businesses have gone wrong is they’ve been they’ve realized, okay, well, if you have an audience, you can like sell a product, right?

Because people like you, but what they don’t do well or well enough is they don’t say, would someone buy it if they didn’t know me, AKA is the product actually good enough to stand on its own. And so what we try to do is I try to make the products good enough that you’d buy them if you just walked into a garden center and saw them, you’re like, Oh, wow, that’s cool.

I didn’t think about that before. So it’s like actually just a better product. And then the sauce is that we can market it. It can’t depend on us marketing it to live. To me, that’d be a failure. So all that to say, like, we really try to be sensitive on how often we’re, we’re promoting things.

Pat Flynn: Tell me about your content schedule and it sounds like you now have this content team that you’re working with.

What’s your pipeline for, for content and you know, how did you go from idea to, to publish? What does that look like these days?

Kevin Espiritu: Yeah. So we do 120 to 180 blog articles a month.

Pat Flynn: 180?

Kevin Espiritu: Yeah, it depends on the season, but like 120 to 180 articles per month will write.

Pat Flynn: Dude, that’s a lot.

Kevin Espiritu: It’s a lot. Yeah, but the blog is a huge source of business for us and traffic, you know, so blog will probably do 50 million uniques this year or something like that.

Gee whiz. And then on YouTube, we have four channels, four or five. And we do at least a video a week on each of those. And then the podcast is five episodes a week. They’re daily shows. So it’s like kind of like a short episode. And then on short form content, it’s like maybe two or three a week across the different platforms that we have.

And so we just switched over actually from Notion to ClickUp. Have you used that?

Pat Flynn: Tell me about it.

Kevin Espiritu: Yeah. So we switched over. It’s like a task project management type, just like an Asana type thing. Yeah. We use that. And I can talk about video if you want, because I know you and I love talking about YouTube stuff. I can break that one down.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. Let’s break that down. Pipeline. How do you get these ideas? What’s it based off of? And we’ll talk about production.

Kevin Espiritu: Yeah. So like for the ideas. It’s weird in our space because we’re an educational channel, right? And yeah, we entertain and there’s some other channels we have, like my homesteading channel, it’s more vlog based. But like the primary channel is an edu channel. And so I am of one mind, I go, well, have I even made a video on how to grow cucumbers? If I haven’t, like, I don’t really need to ideate. I just need to make that video because I want to teach the world to grow and I haven’t taught them about cukes, so I better make that video.

So sometimes ideas are that simple and sometimes ideas are more like YouTube-y, so to speak, where it’s like, what happens when you bury a fish head under a tomato, right? And there’s a story to tell in that video. So it kind of depends, like the first one I mentioned, that’s more of like a search focused YouTube video, like kind of classic YouTube education.

The second is more kind of the stuff you do with Deep Pocket Monster, right? Where you’re like setting up an idea and paying it off through the course of the video. So we’ll ideate and we do a creative meeting every week where we kind of battle it out and say, like, I don’t think that’s a good idea for this reason.

Or that doesn’t make sense at this time of year, let’s say. And then we’ll program those into a schedule. We’ll do the pre production on them, which, you know, a lot of the time it’s just what materials do we need? What are the basic facts of the plant we need to get across? What’s the structure of the video?

And then we’ll plug that into a shooting schedule. We’ll shoot. Most of that happens in my backyard still. And then we’ll offload that media. And we send it over to the team and then we get a, a first cut back and we use to kind of leave timestamp marks and do all the editing stuff. And we’ll do maybe one or two revisions there.

And get the thumbs, get the title and then kind of schedule it out. And so that’s the rough strokes of it, but we could dive into any piece of it that you think is interesting.

Pat Flynn: Thank you for that. How are you planning a video like growing cucumbers when it takes months for a cucumber to grow? Like, that’s what I’m curious about because there has to be some foresight into when these videos happen, but then like, okay, you can’t film it all in one day.

I would imagine.

Kevin Espiritu: No. Well, it depends. So we have a series called seed to harvest where you’re right. Like we literally will grow the plant from nothing to a full harvest. And that just takes as long as the plant takes to grow. And the annoying part about that is It’s hard to keep track of cause like the fastest plant would be a month.

The slowest, like the average would be three months, right? So it’s a long grow. Also by the time it’s grown, it’s actually not the time to grow it because it already grew. So like if I put the video out, a good example, Pat, as I did this one called how to grow corn from seed to harvest. And so I harvested it in the end of July or maybe August. And then I put the video out in August and no one can start growing corn in August. So the video was, it was terrible, right? It was like a 10 out of 10. Oh man. Half the views of the ninth best video. So like I felt super bad cause it took so long to make. And then I was like, you know what?

Just, just wait a year. Like maybe it’ll come back. And that video is like probably closing in on a million views. Now it just needed that season to come back. But to answer the question, like for the cucumbers video, I try to have stuff growing in the backyard. All the time, just in case. And so I have some cucumbers growing.

I have footage from cucumbers in past years. So I could do like a seven mistakes to avoid when growing cucumbers and I can talk about those mistakes and then I can paste over b roll and like I can illustrate certain things I might just have the cucumber growing and maybe there’s a yellow leaf and I can say like this is actually an example of the next mistake I’m going to talk about and I don’t actually have to show the whole thing growing sometimes.

Pat Flynn: That’s good. Again, it just speaks to. How complicated this could be and the mechanisms for tracking and how important that is because I mean, how many videos at one point are you potentially simultaneously working on in this field?

Kevin Espiritu: These days, it’s a lot like a dozen ish at any point in time or just sort of sitting there.

Like I’m, I’m working on one right now. Who knows when it comes out? Actually, it’s kind of like a question mark, but it’s a fig pruning guide. So. In November of last year, when you’re supposed to prune figs, I did a whole segment. Okay, here’s what we’re going to do. I’m cutting in this part. Here’s why I’m cutting in this part.

Here’s why. Here’s what we’re going to see happen in the next three months. So like yesterday, I just filmed the update on that. So it’s been four months. And it just, because the figs just started to grow back in, so I was like, okay, we need to film the update because I need to show that the cuts I made are now growing in the exact way I said they would.

And then I need one more update so that that tree’s nice and full. So I can conclude that guide and say, not only did I show you how to prune them, but here’s the proof that I did it right. And then I also get a good thumbnail from that because I can do it before after or something like that.

Pat Flynn: Well, this is exactly why the channel is so special.

Because nobody or hardly anybody is going to go through that much effort for a fig. Yet here you are doing that.

Kevin Espiritu: Yeah. For a fig and let alone like a fig that until recently, I haven’t even announced this yet, but until recently we wouldn’t have any way to sort of offer you a product around a fig. We don’t sell anything that has anything to do with figs.

So like, why are we even spending that much time on that video? You know, now, we will have figs. Actually, we’ll be able to ship figs directly to your door. Fig trees. Now that video might make even more sense for the business, but I would have made it anyways, because the missions teach the world to grow.

And that’s a thing that we want to teach you. So you’re right. Like we’re kind of going, going to a bit of an extra level.

Pat Flynn: How are you delivering fig trees? Is that through the seed company?

Kevin Espiritu: That’s through a partnership we have with a fruit tree nursery that is growing fruit trees out that we want and we’re able to send them around the country.

Did you go to them or did they come to you? It’s a bit of both. Like we knew the, the founding team and so we were like, Hey, what can we do together? And they’re like, well, we can do this. And we said, yeah, let’s do it. We have a ton of people who want to purchase fruit trees from us.

Pat Flynn: That’s awesome, man. Dude, there’s so much going on.

What’s your daily life like? in this world now and tell me where you’re at kind of mentally with all this.

Kevin Espiritu: I mean, it’s difficult because you knew me before most of this, right? It’s just, there’s a lot more going on. Like you mentioned, you know, there’s all the people stuff and there’s the, you have investors and you’re talking to those guys.

You’re trying to make sure you’re doing right by the team. You’re trying to like, not get fat like I got fat in the last three years and then I had to like get unfat because I was realizing that like all the stress was getting to me and I was just like eating and not exercising because I just wanted to not do anything when I was done working, you know, which is ironic for like a gardening person to like be fat by eating burritos or something but that’s just what happened.

And so It’s taken a while for me to understand like, Oh, all these things, all these changes, it’s not just like life happening. Like it all takes some sort of toll and you have to figure out a way to, to like rebalance your life because it’s, it’s way different now. Like everything we talk about, these are all killer opportunities for anyone listening to the podcast.

And I fully think that in every category of business, especially consumer business, like there will be someone like myself or a Beast or whoever that is kind of going at it like this, but it’s not like it’s some easy thing to do. Like it’s quite challenging because all the stuff that we’re good at as creators is on the media side.

So you have to gain all these skills that like a commerce business would, would know cold. Like they’d know how to develop the product and stand up an e com site and all that kind of stuff. So it’s just so many different pieces to learn, which for me, it’s fun. Cause I’m curious and I want to learn it all, but I didn’t realize how much of a toll it was taking until like at least a couple of years in.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. We see the behind the scenes of people like Mr. Beast and what they’re doing, they do and how much in a way they’re sacrificing so much to dedicate everything to the thing that they love most and to go all in with it. And it feels like you’re going down that path as well in terms of like, you know, this is hard and you’re sacrificing some stuff, but you’re going in and going in hard and you’re doing so many amazing things in the space of gardening.

You’re like the Mr. Beast of gardening. For you, what is the, to finish off here, like, where do you go from here? Are you going to go bigger and eventually have your own Amazon series like Beast is, you know, in the world of gardening, you know, gardening challenges or something? I don’t know. Or is this a plan to, you know, eventually get to the point where it’s just like some giant exit of some kind and then you can just chill and retire young and like, where do you want to go?

Kevin Espiritu: You know, it’s so interesting because like I could retire before I even raised any money. Like, you know, Epic was doing well, you’re a one person team and you have a bunch of ad revenue coming in or whatever. And it’s like, but retire and do what is my question. Cause. I would have, what would I retire to?

I’d probably maybe buy more acreage and like rebuild the homestead in a larger space because I just want more space. But I’m like, I’m kind of already doing that already. And so as far as like the vision for the future, I don’t think we’ll do, who knows? I don’t know that we’ll do some sort of big Amazon or Netflix streaming deal.

We’ve, we’ve talked to those people. It’s hard, a gardening show is kind of hard to conceive of. It just takes way longer than they’re all comfortable with. But where I see us going is we might actually own and operate nurseries because if you think about it, that’s where the soul of gardeners go. You go to a nursery to like, you go on the weekend, you bring your kid, you know, you get a coffee at the little coffee shop there, you buy your plants, you go home, you plant.

We sell the premier seed brand already into the nurseries. We love nurseries. They’re like our core customer and our wholesale business. And that’s where all of our audience wants to go. And so I was like, why would we not have an Epic nursery? And see if we can level up that experience and then think about what that would do for our content too.

You could have an entire sub channel or, or media property, or who knows the like talent that would come out of working at the nursery that you might have. And you could have 15, 20 of those things around the country and that could be the next chapter. And it kind of goes to that whole thing I was saying of like, companies don’t really need these creators in the sense that creators might just completely own these companies if they’re smart enough, you know?

Nurseries or what if Beast did a version of See’s Candies? Right. What if he came after that and he had a bunch of these because See’s Candies like a pretty profitable operation I think Warren Buffett owns the whole thing. What’s to say beast couldn’t take that on and do a better job I think he definitely could right and so why would he not maybe he will I have no idea, but.

Pat Flynn: There’s a lot of empty mall space now.

Kevin Espiritu: Yeah. Yeah, so that that’s kind of what I What I’m trying to do is just keep, keep playing the game.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. I was listening to a podcast with Chris Williamson and Hermosi was on it. And they were talking about this idea of like, you know, one of the suckiest things to happen is to like hit your goal. And it’s such a different way to think about it, but it’s like, when you hit your goal, it’s like, okay, I’m here and you expect like something grand to happen, but then you go, okay, well, I’m here now. What’s next? And you’ve worked so hard and you’re like, not enjoying the process because you think that when you hit that goal, everything’s going to change. But then you hit the goal and it’s just like, well, everything’s the same as it was before. I’m just maybe a little bit richer. Maybe it’s depressing.

Kevin Espiritu: It kind of, yeah. Cause I mean, you’ve had those moments, I’m sure. Right?

Pat Flynn: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. But why not just enjoy the hell out of the process and the climb and what you’re doing and have fun.

Kevin Espiritu: I guess that’s it. Yeah. I mean, cause once Epic, Epic’s like the first thing I did that has really done super well.

And I guess at some point, even before raising any money for the business, maybe like 2019 or so, I was like, Oh, it’s like doing better than I expected it to do. I’m able to have a lifestyle that I really enjoy. I’m not some super spendy guy, but like, like, I’m not worried about what something costs at a restaurant anymore or something.

And that was like my bar. And so once I got past that, I was like, it feels like the rest of this is just kind of gravy. There was that moment of like almost a depressive moment where you’re like, Oh, that’s it then. Okay. So what now? And I guess the answer I’ve come to with what now is kind of what you’re saying, where it’s like, just keep playing the game because that’s, that is the end.

So there’s a whole trope of the journeys, the destination journey or whatever, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s, it’s just annoying that you have to actually get there, so to speak, to realize that you were there. But maybe that’s just the human experience.

Pat Flynn: Maybe in, you know, I know you used to play poker and we talked about that the last time you were on.

It’s like seeing the next hand come in and the possibilities of what that might turn into is so fun. It’s, more fun than having won all the chips at the end.

Kevin Espiritu: Yeah. Cause the game’s over then, right?

Pat Flynn: Exactly. The game is over. So enjoy the game while it’s being played. And it seems like you’re playing the game really well.

And I love how you’ve been leveling up. It’s an inspiration for me as somebody who not just has SPI, but this entertainment brand and Deep Pocket Monster, it’s helping me think bigger and find new ways to play this game as well. And partnerships and other things are happening kind of as we speak.

Kevin Espiritu: Yeah.

No, it’s been really cool to watch you take it to where you’ve taken over the last couple of years. It’s been really cool.

Pat Flynn: Thank you. Well, you’re making me think bigger and reminding me to have fun with that process. So I appreciate that a lot. And just congratulations to you, man. And if you do end up creating a nursery brand at some point, Epic Nursery would be sick.

Let me know how I can help or be a part of that because, oh yeah, I’d love to.

Kevin Espiritu: Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, thanks, man. I appreciate it.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, no worries. I know you have a plethora of things that you could offer in terms of where to go and where to find you or, or, or seed the brand in its motion, but where would you recommend people go from here?

Kevin Espiritu: If you want to see kind of what we’re up to always a good place to go. If you do like to garden or are interested, Botanical Interests is our seed company, just or just walk into a nursery and look for the packets that have illustrations on them. And that’ll be us.

Pat Flynn: Nice, man. Thanks so much for today. I appreciate it, bud.

Kevin Espiritu: Yeah, likewise.

Pat Flynn: All right. I hope you enjoy that interview with Kevin over at Epic Gardening. And trust me, if you need gardening advice, his channel is the one to go to. And he’s got some other characters on his channel. Jacques, who is sort of a fan favorite who shows up in his videos.

He’s, he’s wonderful as well. And he has his own channel that now has nearly a half million subs that goes along with Epic Gardening as well. And epic is right. This is an empire that Kevin is building. And I mean, the nursery idea, everything. Things can grow really, really big, really, really fast when you put the right pieces into place.

But I think it’s important to keep in mind your mental along the way. And I’m really glad we touched on that at the end as well, in terms of why are we doing this and for what? So thank you again for listening. And I appreciate you. The episode that Kevin was on prior to this, if you want to check it out, that was episode 489.

We’ll link to that in the show notes as well. If you want to go to the show notes. Again, And I look forward to serving you in the next episode. Also be sure to subscribe because this Friday, on episode 784, I’m going to share a little bit about how I’m doing some of the same kinds of things that Kevin is doing, not quite to his scale and level yet, but some of the stuff we’re doing at Deep Pocket Monster that has notes of this, which might be a nice sort of supplement to this episode for you.

So be sure to subscribe for that and all future episodes. Amazing guests coming your way. Thank you so much.

Thank you so much for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast at I’m your host, Pat Flynn. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. Our senior producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media, and a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network. Catch you next week!

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