If you know anything about the beverage industry in America—especially a sub-niche as packed as bottled coffee—you know it’s super competitive. So how in the world did three brothers and a dorm room blender break in and earn $5 million in revenue? That’s the story of Super Coffee, and I’ve got Jim Decicco (oldest of the three brothers) on the show to tell us all about it!
Jim Decicco is the CEO of Super Coffee, a super healthy, lactose-free coffee drink with protein. They’re being distributed by major players like Whole Foods and they’re looking to expand their reach even farther. Business is booming, but it didn’t start out like that. Actually, it started with one brother’s decision to drop out of college, a dorm room blender, and a whole lot of grit. Jim’s here today to uncover some of the secrets to Super Coffee’s success, how the three brothers got their scrappy start and pulled together the pieces, and where they’re headed next. We’ll talk about the origin story, the ups and downs, what the brothers learned from a renowned mentor in the food and beverage space, and how they got on Shark Tank! Hit play and let’s discover the story of Super Coffee!
And if you want to try Super Coffee yourself, you can get 20 percent off your order by using the code “SPI20” on DrinkSuperCoffee.com. This is an offer just for SPI listeners—thanks to Jim for the generosity!
Jim Decicco: Once we got in, we were like, “This is our only account.” We were only in one Whole Foods, it was a local account. We were like, “This is our only account, this is all we got. Let’s make it the best ever.” That first day our product was available on the shelf, this was a few weeks after that initial order. We figured out how to make it, and sort of scale enough for that. That first day, we broke the store’s weekly sales record in the first four hours, because the three of us . . .
Pat Flynn: That’s Jim Decicco talking about the story of Super Coffee, and how he and his two brothers created this company, broke sales records, and are now one of the top beverages out there in the sort of niched, super coffee, protein coffee space. This was all born from Jordan, the younger brother, who was just messing around in his dorm room one day. We’re going to talk about this entire story, how it all came down, how they kind of scrappily put everything together, and where things are at now, and where things are headed. Sit tight, make sure you subscribe. Let’s do this.
Announcer: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And, now your host—he runs his business with the goal of earning a thank you note from you—Pat Flynn!
Pat Flynn: What’s up everybody? Thank you so much for joining me today in Session 336 of the SPI Podcast. My name is Pat Flynn, I’m here to help you make more money, save more time, and help more people too. To help us along today we have the CEO of Super Coffee, Jimmy Decicco, the eldest of three brothers. He, Jordan, and Jake came up with this thing called Super Coffee. We’re going to talk about the origin story, the ups, the downs, the all arounds, the wins, the losses, all those good things. Plus, we’re going to learn what they learned from a mentor in the food and beverage space, and how they even got on Shark Tank, and whether they did well on there or not. Stick around, good stuff coming. This is Jimmy from Super Coffee.
Jimmy, what’s up man? Welcome to the SPI Podcast. Thanks for being here today.
Jim Decicco: Pat, thank you brother. It’s good to be here.
Pat Flynn: I’m super stoked. I wish we could, and maybe we’ll do this in the future, have Jordan, and Jake, your brothers, on the show at some point too. ‘Cause, I’d love to get a feel for just kind of the family dynamic of how you guys all run business together. But, we’ll save that for a later date. Tell me a little bit about how you and Jordan and Jake kind of got started with the business that you’re in. Why don’t you just quickly introduce to everybody what is your business?
Jim Decicco: Yeah, absolutely. My name is Jimmy Decicco, I’m the oldest brother and CEO of Super Coffee. This is a company started by my two younger brothers back in 2016, Jake and Jordan. We were all college athletes, and Jordan was a full-scholarship basketball player, falling asleep in class. He had 5:00 AM practice, and he . . . His school store only offered the sugary bottled coffees and energy drinks that we’re all familiar with. He refused to drink that stuff. He turned to a blender in his dorm room, and started making his own energy solutions. Things like Bulletproof Coffee, and different variations of organic coffees, and healthy fats, and really eliminated the sugars.
What he ended up with was organic coffee with ten grams of protein, zero sugar, lightly sweetened with monk fruit, and five grams of healthy fat known as MCT oil from coconut oil. It worked so well for him and his teammates that he started selling it. Jordan ended up dropping out of school—he accepted the Peter Thiel Fellowship to get the company going. Now, three years later we’ve raised five million bucks, we got fifteen full-time employees, and we’re cranking man. It’s been a fun ride.
Pat Flynn: Dude, that’s insane. This was started by your younger brother. When did you get onboard?
Jim Decicco: I got onboard—so September of 2015 when he made the decision to drop out of school. At the time I was a financial analyst for The Blackstone Group here in New York City. I played football at Colgate University and Blackstone was my first job out of school. Finance wasn’t really my thing. When I heard Jordan was giving up his scholarship to drop out and sell coffee, I was like, “Man, you can’t do this alone.” I heard the conviction in his voice, he put together a pretty compelling business plan and saw the opportunity in the market. I got involved three months after he made the decision to dropout, and 2016 was our first year in business.
Pat Flynn: That’s really cool. It’s interesting how you were like, “Jordan, dude. I can see how much passion you have.” Versus, “Jordan, dude. What are you doing here? Why are you giving up school, and all this.” I would just imagine that there could likely be, I don’t know how your parents felt, but a lot of anxiety, and just pain around the idea of dropping out of school, which is kind of what we’re all taught to do. We’re taught to go to school and finish, and then have these jobs. Was there any sort of, “What are you doing here Jordan?” From anybody?
Jim Decicco: Oh, yeah. I mean, it was very painful. It wasn’t as easy as I made it seem. Jordan, he’s always been a kid who’s had this obsessive personality. He’d go into the backyard when we were kids and he would just throw the wiffleball up to himself, and play these stationary games. It was as if he was Derek Jeter in the world series, you know? For hours. That passion sort of caught a hold of basketball. I mean, he would skip high school to go shoot free throws at the YMCA. His dream was to end up in the NBA. I saw that, and as soon as I saw that obsessive personality shift from basketball into entrepreneurship, I sort of knew there was no stopping him no matter how much my mom or dad or myself thought it was a bad idea.
Coming from a family where our dad’s a civil engineer, my mom used to teach athletic classes at the YMCA—we don’t know about entrepreneurship, right? I didn’t know what a startup was, or a pitch deck was. We knew Mark Zuckerberg, but that was it. It was a very . . . Candidly, I think that naivety has sort of led to some of the success, because we’re doing it our own way.
Pat Flynn: I’m curious, you are the CEO, Jordan was the Founder. What made you come onboard as the CEO? What kind of skills do you bring to the business here?
Jim Decicco: Yeah, I’m sort of a jack of all trades. I think the biggest skill that I bring is one, being the oldest of three brothers I’m sort of naturally a leader, just ’cause that was the dynamic growing up. I was the captain on my college football team, and I’ve sort of gravitated towards things where I got to lead groups of people. My biggest strength and asset has been sort of networking, and building these interpersonal relationships. Where Jordan is this innovative entrepreneur, our middle brother Jake is,the spirit of a salesman. It’s really a perfect storm, because the three of us operate as one. A lot of investors are reluctant to invest in brothers, but the dynamic here is very special and unique. I don’t think it would have worked otherwise.
Pat Flynn: Now tell me the truth, have there ever been any fights or quarrels between you guys related to the business, or has it all been unicorns and rainbows all the way through?
Jim Decicco: Oh, no, yeah I mean, for sure. Ton of fights. Every day. We’re all competitive guys, right? We used to get in fistfights in the backyard playing a game of pickup basketball. There’s still fights. In the early days, there was certainly ego involved among the three of us. Jordan wanted to be the CEO ’cause it was his idea. Then, Jake and I thought we should send him back to school because he needed to grow up and mature a little bit. Once we squashed the ego, the fights . . . We were each committed to this vision, and this dream. But the fights come about the subjective things, like what should the labels look like? Or, what should we name this flavor? When there’s no data, or when there’s no objective answer, it’s like we can fight all day about it. I’ve learned just to shut it off and go to sleep.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, that’s cool. Now I’m curious, going back to Jordan in his dorm room blending this new concoction, I imagine a lot of the people listening right now have done similar things, right? They invent something, or they come up with some idea and they just go, “Oh, this is cool. Maybe one day I could turn it into a business.” What actually made this actually turn into a business? What did you do from the moment this thing was like concocted, to actually turn it into a business? I’m sure there were a lot of steps, and some questions that needed to be answered.
Jim Decicco: Yeah, a ton of ’em. I’ll give you the CliffsNotes of the key, I guess checkpoints, and the genesis of this thing. One of them, our middle brother Jake was, at the time Jordan dropped out of school, Jake was a senior on the football team at Georgetown University. The Georgetown Business School had a startup program for summer students. That sort of gave us the structure to build a business plan and a pitch deck, and things like that. There were certain steps of creating a minimum viable product, and starting out for example, at farmer’s markets and things like that. Jordan’s head was always in the clouds. He was like, “Look, I’m not going to go door to door in these dorm rooms to collect case studies and focus groups. I’m going to Whole Foods.”
That’s what we did. We went to Whole Foods right on Wisconsin Avenue in Washington DC. We bought a twelve pack of Honest Tea. Seth Goldman from Honest Tea, he’s the CEO. They got acquired by Coke, but they’re based in Bethesda Maryland, so not far from Georgetown. Seth quickly ended up becoming one of our mentors. Anyways, this day we bought a case of Honest Tea, glass bottles, brought it back to Jake’s apartment off campus, his dirty basement. Ripped off all the Honest Tea labels, dumped out the product, and we filled up the bottles with Jordan’s dorm room blend of Super Coffee. We wrapped stickers on them, I think we got stickers from Sticker Mule that were labeled with nutrition facts and all that.
We go back to that same Whole Foods later that day. We said, “Hey guys, we’re Super Coffee, and you don’t carry anything like this.” The guy, he sampled it right there, we told him the story, why he needed it. Coffee was trending and all that. He was like, “Great, I’ll take eight cases.” We were like—
Pat Flynn: No way. Like, right then and there?
Jim Decicco: Right then and there.
Pat Flynn: Who did you talk to? It wasn’t the clerk, or the counter person, right? Who did you speak to?
Jim Decicco: Yeah, so he was the grocery manager. Each section of the grocery store, there’s a category manager for dairy, and produce, and meats, and all that. But, this guy was the grocery manager. He was like, “We’ll take you in.” To answer your question about how we got started and how we knew, once we got in we were like, “This is our only account.” We were only at one Whole Foods, it was a local account. We were like, “This is our only account, this is all we got. Let’s make it the best ever.”
That first day our product was available on the shelf, this was a few weeks after that initial order, we figured out how to make it and sort of scale enough for that. That first day, we broke the store’s weekly sales record in the first four hours, because the three of us were in there pouring samples, calling all of our friends. That type of velocity, or that type of excitement allowed us to get into another Whole Foods, and then another one. Before you knew it, we were in twenty-five Whole Foods from DC to Baltimore.
Pat Flynn: Wow.
Jim Decicco: And, the business was really born.
Pat Flynn: That’s really cool. Okay, so the two weeks between when this grocery person says, “Yes, we want you in. We’ll order eight cases,” then two weeks later when you had those cases in there and you kind of launch at the Whole Foods, tell me what those two weeks were like. Did you scramble . . . Were you in a kitchen doing these things? Where did you get your bottles from? Tell me how that all went down first.
Jim Decicco: Yeah, yeah. It was more like six weeks. Two weeks is . . . We finished, we did the paperwork in two weeks. Then we still had to figure out everything you just said.
Pat Flynn: Oh, okay.
Jim Decicco: Where are we going to source the bottles from? Where are we … In food and beverage you contract out the manufacturing to co-packers, or contract packers. Basically, factories that have the product lines and the facilities for you to use that are all food grade. The challenge is, it costs money to set up these lines, and clean them, and do all that. These co-packers, these big manufacturers don’t want to work with small brands because the size of the runs that we were producing weren’t even worth their time to set up a line for us.
We drove up to Baltimore, there’s a . . . Baltimore’s a big Domino Sugar hub. We got to the back of this old Domino Sugar factory, the guy who owned it gave us an old production line that didn’t really work. We started brewing our own stuff. He was like, “Guys, you can work the night shift. Come in, work from 8:00 to 4:00 AM, 8:00 PM to 4:00 AM. There better not be a drop of coffee on my equipment when I come in, in the morning.”
Pat Flynn: Wow.
Jim Decicco: So that’s what we did. We showed up, we brewed this stuff with our own labels, and I remember I dropped a cup into this 100 pound kettle, or 100 gallon kettle of Super Coffee in the early days. I had to go armpit-deep into this thing, this batch of coffee, and scoop it out. The next day, we delivered that to Whole Foods.
Pat Flynn: Oh my gosh. I am now thinking about, not just from that example alone but just with food in general, I know that there are a lot of regulations and sanitary things and just like—I’m creating a physical product right now with my buddy Caleb, and it’s something that doesn’t need to be tested for consumption, which is good. But coffee, people consume that. People could get sick. People could potentially die. How do you ensure that with something like that, you are following all the rules properly?
Jim Decicco: Yeah. When you have these kill steps or these pasteurization processes, first of all, the facility is totally certified by the FDA. They had all the regulation and all of these qualifications and all of that because they were doing other food grade products. After we brewed the batch and poured it into the bottles, it would go through this kill step. In those days, it was called HPP, which was High Pressure Processing sterilization, and that basically extended the shelf life. It killed the bacteria, gave us a refrigerated shelf life. Think of cold-pressed juices like Suja or BluePrint, same deal. That was it but dude, you’d be surprised. There was nobody watching us. We could have dumped whatever we wanted into this vat, which was shocking to me. As consumers, we trust what’s on the shelf at those grocery stores to be safe and sanitary, and people could make this stuff in their bathtub and sell it in—in local cases, not in mainstream.
Pat Flynn: Right. That scares me a little bit. Just to go back to your story earlier about dropping the thing in the vat, I’m guessing that you put gloves on and made it safe. Obviously, you guys are following all the rules, right?
Jim Decicco: Yeah, yeah no, candidly, if the wrong person is listening to this, we could probably get in trouble for that story but it was scrappy—this wasn’t craft times. We didn’t have the total operation. Today we’re producing basically in a Nestlé facility that can do 500 million bottles in a week. It’s a huge, huge state-of-the-art facility, but we had to work our way up to get to that point.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. You had mentioned a really key word there and that’s “scrappy.” A lot of us entrepreneurs, we start scrappy. I started scrappy in 2008 online with things, figuring things out as I went. For you, there are a lot of things here that I would assume that you didn’t know you had to do until you had to just figure it out. How did you determine what to do next? Was there a mentor or somebody who was just like, “Okay, your next step is this”? Was it YouTube? How did you even know what to do?
Jim Decicco: Yeah. Yeah, it was a lot of that. A lot of that involved. Before Seth Goldman would talk to us he was like, “Look guys, I admire what you’re about to do. Beverage industry is tough. I wrote a book about it so read my book and then talk to me.” Seth’s book was called Mission in a Bottle and it laid out the steps of how Seth left the corporate world, he teamed up with his partner from the Yale School of Management and they started Honest Tea. And it laid out the process of what he went through, so that was like the blueprint for us getting the business off the ground. But having the playbook and executing on the plays are two totally different things. Once we had that direction and guidance, just very vague guidance, we sort of figured it out with that scrappy and intuitive—and knowing what I know now, we could have done it much more efficiently. That said, we built this thing from the very bottom, the very first step, so there’s not one piece of this business that we don’t understand fully.
Pat Flynn: That’s cool. I love that. I’m on your website right now, DrinkSuperCoffee.com. I had the pleasure of having some delivered to me thanks to you. It was delicious and I have it in my studio, in my office, and it’s great. I love Bulletproof Coffee; to see another option out there with all the different flavors you have is super cool. It’s really interesting, on the website you have this mission statement and share the family and you have this amazing story to go along with it, which is great for marketing and to have us build a relationship with you and consuming the product, which is fantastic. What, other than the hustle and going into Whole Foods, what has helped you get on the map? Were there any key moments? Was there a Shark Tank appearance and other things like that, that kind of gave you a huge boost in exposure?
Jim Decicco: Yeah, yeah we did go on Shark Tank. That was amazing.
Pat Flynn: Oh, you did go on Shark Tank?
Jim Decicco: Yeah. We filmed our episode on Shark Tank in June of 2017 and the episode aired on February 11, 2018. We didn’t do a deal, but it was a very fortuitous episode because our guest shark was a guy named Rohan Oza, and Rohan was the former Chief Marketing Officer of Vitamin Water. They call him the Brand Father, the Hollywood Brand Father.
Pat Flynn: The Brand Father, wow.
Jim Decicco: He’s an investor. Yeah. He got 50 Cent and Jennifer Aniston involved in Vitamin Water and Smart Water, he got Justin Timberlake involved in Bai and he knows the industry really well. It was great to be able to pitch him on national TV. He really validated us for what we were doing. He really commended us for recognizing the seismic shift from American consumer mentality where carbs and sugars are out and healthy fats and proteins are in. Though we didn’t do a deal, that was all we really needed to validate this thing for private investors as well as buyers and new grocery stores and accounts.
Pat Flynn: That’s so interesting. Did you pitch to get on Shark Tank? Like, if I wanted to go onto Shark Tank for something or somebody in the audience wanted to do that, how did you even make that happen?
Jim Decicco: There’s a general casting. There’s an audition and stuff. The numbers suck. There’s 40,000 people who apply for 100 castings each year, 100 filmings. Those odds are terrible. We were so adverse to doing that because we saw it as a distraction but as entrepreneurs, you have to create your own luck. Like I said, we filmed in June. In April, I was surfing through the LinkedIn and I saw a secondary connection comment on another entrepreneur’s post saying, “Hey, this is interesting. If you want to get on Shark Tank, hit me up.” I intercepted that. I slid into this guy’s DMs and I said, “Hey man, what’s this deal about Shark Tank?”
An hour after that, maybe, he introduced us to a producer. We got a direct call to that producer and he was like, “This story’s great. You still got to do your application and your audition video but I’ll put it at the top of the pile rather than doing this whole 40,000 people pitch.” We did it. It was really cool. Thirty days after that, we were flying out to Los Angeles to pitch in front of Mark Cuban and the sharks.
Pat Flynn: That’s crazy. It’s really about who you know and the fact that you were paying attention to conversations that were happening out there and you took the effort to, like you said, just slide right in and go, “Hey, what’s the deal with this?” Like you said, you made your own luck there.
Jim Decicco: Yeah. Yeah. You got to be lucky. There’s really good lines about it out there. I’ve never heard of somebody getting lucky like, sitting on a couch. Entrepreneurs who are out there pursuing their dreams, hustling and putting in the effort, you’re going to get lucky. That’s how you create these breaks. It’s not something that you learn by getting an MBA.
Pat Flynn: Why don’t you think you got a deal on Shark Tank?
Jim Decicco: A few different reasons. We had a pretty heavy valuation, and for context for your listeners, we had about a million dollar run rate in revenue at the time that we went on. We were basically asking for a million dollars for 10 percent of the company, so we were valuing ourselves at $10 million exactly. They kind of laughed at that. At the time, food and beverage companies are valued at three to five times multiple of trailing twelve month revenue, and those are mature companies. For us, we haven’t even gotten started today. We’ll get to $5 million in revenue this year, but our future is bright and the best is yet to come. We don’t like looking at the last twelve months. We’re like, “Let’s look to the next twelve months and the next twelve months after that.” Probably valuation was the biggest thing. Those sharks want some significant ownership if they’re going to put their skin in the game.
Pat Flynn: That makes sense, plus you have this really interesting model of the recurring model. People can pay a subscription to get Super Coffee delivered to them directly, which is not unusual these days, but definitely in the beverage industry something that’s kind of new and innovative right now, right?
Jim Decicco: Yeah. It’s key because we’re spending—you get a twelve pack of coffee for $36, $3 a bottle, that cart size isn’t very big so if you’re only buying one, we can’t do much to advertise. Our tack right now is closer to $40 or $50 through Google and Facebook ads, but if that $40 or $50 is converting you to a subscription model, that lifetime value then becomes four or five or $600. You’re spending that $36 every single month, which allows us to get more creative with how we market.
Pat Flynn: Have you seen any pushback or aggressiveness from competitors or other people in the industry as a result of you now coming onto the market?
Jim Decicco: Sort of. Bulletproof has been around for a while but they just launched their ready to drink like ten months ago so I mean, we were I guess, the first to market in this enhanced category. That’s not to say we created the category. A lot of people will see us and be like, “Oh you guys just copied Bulletproof. You just ripped off Bulletproof,” and for me, the best advice I ever got related to competition was when I was a freshman football player at Colgate, my coach grabbed me by the collar and was like, “Look, there’s four other quarterbacks in this class. Do not watch them. Do not look at them. Focus on you.” That’s exactly what I did.
If we’re busy looking at the competition, we’re not going to be able to get better ourselves. We’ll constantly be distracted.
Pat Flynn: That’s awesome. I love that advice. For the future, what are some things you’re doing now? Where the brand is at, what are some plans that you and your partners and your family have to take this? Where do you want to take it? Where do you want to see this go?
Jim Decicco: Yeah. Yeah, right now, we’re mainly concentrated in the mid-Atlantic and the Northeast. That’s a wide variety, this omni-channel approach, from grocery, to c store, to grocery service, which includes college campuses and corporate offices. We’re in all the Wall Street banks and cafeterias, we’re in a lot of Silicon Valley tech hubs. Food service is the exception. We’re nationwide on colleges and offices. Where we want to go next is really be this national brand in the mainstream channel. Rather than focusing on Whole Foods, we want to be available in Target and Walmart and 7-11.
The reason this exists, the reason we’re doing this is because we didn’t want the Starbucks Frappuccinno to add 46 grams of sugar and 300 calories, and that’s what you get with this mainstream channel. We’re priced at $2.99 so we’re competitive with those guys and we taste very similar to a Frappuccinno. We want to be on the shelf in Walmart, in the middle of America, next to those competitors who inspired us to create the company.
Pat Flynn: Nice. How are you going to make it happen?
Jim Decicco: It starts with focus. For the last two and a half years, we’ve been really focused in our backyard and we’ve become the best selling bottled coffee in many of the chains that we’re in. An influential chain up here in the Northeast, it’s called Wegmans, ninety-five stores, family owned grocery chain and we’ve become the best selling bottled coffee in that chain by 300 percent. We make up 400 percent of the bottled coffee sales in Wegmans, and that type of velocity and that selling story has attracted HEB down South and Texas and Costco in the Midwest. It’s focusing your effort and your resources because you can’t be everything to everybody at once. You can’t spread yourself too thin, and we have a really dedicated team that’s really focused on our market. The challenge that we face is “how can we replicate these results in the new markets?”—which is an exciting challenge.
Pat Flynn: That’s cool. You said your team’s about fifteen people big right now?
Jim Decicco: Yeah. Fifteen full-time employees, which is a challenge within itself.
Pat Flynn: That doesn’t include who is brewing and packaging and shipping out. Or does it?
Jim Decicco: No, those are all contracted. That is our internal team. Of the fifteen, eight of those people are sales reps, and then seven of them are sort of executives in the corporate headquarters here in New York.
Pat Flynn: Oh, okay. That’s awesome. In terms of your success thus far, I’m curious to know what you feel has attributed to that, mainly. Obviously it’s a great product. I’ve tasted it myself, it’s awesome, so the product itself is great, and you absolutely, obviously need a great product, because if you have a crappy product, better marketing shows more people how crappy it is. It’s working in terms of the product itself, but in terms of the growth and the success, how much do you think is also attributed to the marketing effort kind of behind it, after the kind of hustle, scrappy period? What do those marketing efforts, what have those really been? Are you doing ads? Are you still going into stores and literally hustling in that kind of way, like you did in the early days? Or is there something I’m missing?
Jim Decicco: No, you nailed it man, and the big thing is that hustle. We’re in stores every single weekend, and our fifteen employees manage about fifty brand ambassadors, college kids and interns that are in stores pouring samples as well. Now we’re just expanding that effort, and the difference between us and other food and beverage companies is they’ll get an authorization in say a Whole Foods or something like a ShopRite or a Stop & Shop, and the authorization is, okay, you guys have four facings in this cooler, and 400 stores. Most companies would be like, great, let’s go to the next store. Let’s go to Target or let’s go to Walmart. Whereas, as soon as we get that authorization, that’s where our work begins. We go into the stores, we build the relationships with the buyers. We say, “Hey, man. We have four facings over here, but in some of our other stores, we sell better when we have eight facings over here.” That’s just effort. There’s no marketing tactic around it. It’s showing up, it’s building relationships, it’s pouring samples one by one. The challenge now is how can you scale that without spending more money than what your making?
Pat Flynn: What is a facing, exactly?
Jim Decicco: A facing is just one spot on a shelf. Like, if we’re next to a Starbucks, a Dunkin, and a Red Bull, that’s four facings. Super Coffee, Starbucks, Dunkin, Red Bull.
Pat Flynn: Got it. Okay cool. You literally just went and were like, “You know, actually we could probably sell more if we have a couple more because it’s been proven to work in these other stores.” You’re literally just telling them that, and they’re going, “Okay.”
Jim Decicco: Yeah, yeah. I mean, our guys now, they’re building like 400 case pallet displays. Now, you know when you walk into a grocery store and you see like the Anheuser-Busch or the Pepsi displays, with like the blow up floats and stuff?
Pat Flynn: Yeah.
Jim Decicco: That’s what we’re doing, and we’ll take pictures of that and bring it to the next store and be like, “Dude, that store down the street’s cranking. Check it out. Let us make something like this in your store.” They’re like, “I want to crank too. Let’s do it!”
Pat Flynn: Love that. That’s cool. In terms of the space that you have, it started out in the dorm room. I’m guessing it’s not in the dorm room anymore. Tell me about the kinds of facilities you have. Do you have like, an office building for like the executive stuff and then a warehouse? Tell me what you got.
Jim Decicco: Yeah, so we’re super asset light. Everything is contracted. I think the only assets on our books are like two or three laptops for the brothers, because our college laptops have since died. We contract the manufacturing. We contract the logistics to third party logistics facilities. We have a really unique set up in New York. WeWork is an investor in our company, so we have our coliving and coworking arrangement with them. We basically have a six person office in downtown Manhattan, where we cram everybody into the office, and that’s on the fifth floor of this WeWork building, and then above us is WeLive, which is WeWork’s new fully furnished apartment complex or concept—
Pat Flynn: Oh, what? I didn’t know about that.
Jim Decicco: We live on the 11th floor. Dude. It’s cool. It’s a cool gig.
Pat Flynn: Wow. Do you sell Super Coffee at the WeWorks, in their little marketplaces?
Jim Decicco: We sure do. We sure do.
Pat Flynn: Okay. Because I haven’t seen it in the one in San Diego yet man, like, so get over here, because I need it.
Jim Decicco: We got you man, we got you. The thing I’m most excited about is we’re launching a creamer, and you know as a WeWork guy, there’s hot coffee available in every WeWork in the country, and then there’s typically like, local half and half or skim milks and almond milks and stuff that are in the fridge. But in September of 2018, we’re launching our Super Creamer, which is going to have protein, MCT oil, zero sugar, and taste like an International Delight or a Coffee Mate, and WeWork’s agreed to put that into all their locations, so that will be really exciting, a new innovation for us.
Pat Flynn: Hey, that’s really cool. Congrats on all the success. If you have a few more minutes, I’d love to ask you a few follow up questions before we let you go, if that’s cool.
Jim Decicco: Yeah man, let’s do it.
Pat Flynn: I think one of the most interesting things that you had recently said was the fact that you’re very asset light, meaning you aren’t actually taking care internally of the manufacturing, of the shipping, of the warehouse and all that stuff. I’ve found that now that me and Caleb are running through this invention and we’ve done the prototyping and now we’re starting to get into logistics. There are services out there that can help you do these things, and I think I would love for you to speak to those in the audience who have these ideas, but they just are confused about the process. You guys are the epitome of somebody who’s just taken this idea and have been able to figure it out, but not actually building the entire thing yourself, but still making it happen.
How can you speak—like, help me and others who are in that situation where we always have these blockages, like, “Well, I don’t know how to ship, I don’t know how to pack.” Like, how can you help us just wrap our mind around the fact that you don’t need to know that, but how can we ensure that we still connect with the right places or people?
Jim Decicco: Yeah, yeah, so there’s solutions out there for everything, and for us it started with our strengths and our weaknesses, basically. Like, we’re terrible designers, right? We couldn’t create pretty sale sheets or pitch stats or anything like that, so Fiverr and Upwork are two apps where you can contract freelancers and people that will work for pretty cheap to come in and design for you. That’s one solution.
Pat Flynn: You used Fiverr and Upwork in your business?
Jim Decicco: In the early days, yeah, like when we needed like a logo or a label, we would just contract it out to agencies like that.
Pat Flynn: Hey, that’s so cool, because you know, I share Fiverr and Upwork and other places every once in a while, and there seems to be sometimes a negative connotation, like, no that’s like the cheap end of the spectrum, you need to kind of hire a designer right away. Which, you know, it’s great to have your own inhouse designer or a team of specifically, designers—but, case in point, what you guys got going on, I mean, you just started out, you don’t have much money to start with, so you go to these places, and it’s obviously worked out. I’m guessing that over time you’ve kind of upgraded things. Is that correct?
Jim Decicco: Yeah. Yeah, so the other thing, I guess getting back to your initial question about logistics and factory and manufacturing and all that, there’s levels to this, where like, they’re not—a world class factory or shipping company isn’t going to work with a dorm room company that is selling ten bottles a week to one store, right? In the early days there’s no alternative, there’s no solution for that scrappiness or that effort or that resilience to get your product out there. We’ve gone through three or four manufacturers to get to where we are today. We’re on our third shipping company to get to where we got to today.
The more demand we strum up in the market, and the more press, like the Shark Tank stuff—after Shark Tank, we probably got a hundred calls from a hundred different shipping solutions. There are answers out there, and I think my best advice for people who are into it, or looking to get into it, is don’t be overwhelmed. If you stand at the bottom of the mountain and look at the top, you’re going to be like, “Damn, I’m never going to get there,” but if you start taking one step at a time, you certainly will, and ask people who have done it before. That’s the thing that I’m trying to preach on our team now as we grow. These guys face their own challenges every single day, and luckily they’re all resourceful.
However, the time it takes them to solve a problem their way, I’m like, there’s been hundreds of beverage companies that have solved this very same problem, so let’s go see how they’re doing it, right? Or call a friend, or reach out to somebody on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an invaluable resource. I mean, I don’t know what you and Caleb are looking to start, but find your competitor on LinkedIn and call them up, you know, they don’t know who you are yet.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. Epic advice, man, and Jim, thank you for being here. Jim Decicco from DrinkSuperCoffee.com, one of the three bros there, Jordan and Jake as well. Our best regards to them, tell them we said hi and hello and congrats. Where should we go to check out Super Coffee?
Jim Decicco: Yeah, man, this was awesome. Check us out at DrinkSuperCoffee.com, on Instagram we are @DrinkSuperCoffee. On our website, DrinkSuperCoffee.com, discount code “SPI20” is good for 20 percent off your order. Thank you guys all so much for listening to this, and Pat this has been a pleasure.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. Thank you for throwing—I didn’t know you were going to do that, so I appreciate that. We all do. Dude, best of luck with everything, and looking forward to . . . I’m actually going to go and find your episode on Shark Tank right now and watch it. Best of luck with everything and thanks again.
Jim Decicco: You’re the man. All right. Have a good one, brother.
Pat Flynn: All right. That was awesome. I hope you enjoyed that episode with Jim from Super Coffee. You can find him at DrinkSuperCoffee.com, and like Jimmy said there, use the discount code “SPI20” for 20 percent off. That’s super cool, I didn’t realize he was going to do that. A lot of great information today. If you want to check out the show notes and the resources, and also comment on this podcast episode, all you have to do is go to the show notes page at SmartPassiveIncome.com/session336.
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