Entrepreneurship Podcast post

Product Creation with Steven Blustein

George Grombacher September 8, 2022

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Product Creation with Steven Blustein

LifeBlood: We talked about product creation, how to bring your idea to life, benefiting from wisdom and experience, the future of the supply chain, and making things happen, with Steven Blustein, CoFounder of Gembah and Founder of Pridebites. 

Listen to learn why grit and consistently are still the gold standards of entrepreneurship!

You can learn more about Steven at Gembah.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

steven 2

Steven Blustein

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:00
Come on let’s go. This is George G. And the time is right. Welcome. Today’s guest strong, powerful Steven Bluestein. Stephen, are you ready to do this?

Unknown Speaker 0:18
I’m ready, George. Thanks for having me.

george grombacher 0:20
I’m excited to have you on. Stephen is the co founder of gamba. They’re a company that streamlines logistics of product creation from start to finish. He’s also the founder of pride bytes, their pet product company that received funding from not one but two sharks on Shark Tank, Steven are excited to have you on tell us a little about your personal life. It’s more about your work and why you do what you do.

Unknown Speaker 0:43
Yeah, I got two little boys, married to my beautiful wife and my two little boys are 10 months and three years old. So we’re, we’re pretty busy on the weekends and focused outside of work. And, you know, when I’m not with them, you know, focused on building the businesses and, and, and, you know, trying to reach new heights.

george grombacher 1:06
I appreciate that I’ve got soon to be six and three. So both boys, so we’ll be able to compare notes on that down the road. So you’re gonna give me some tips? For sure. Yes. Ryan, get as much sleep as you possibly can, Stephen. All right, so So walk us through that was reading about your company this morning. Certainly that they’re there. They’re both super cool. But with gamba? How did that come to be?

Unknown Speaker 1:35
Yeah. So you know, really, I went through kind of all the struggles of what it’s like to launch your own business and really, you know, create a unique product that’s not there before and kind of, you know, changing industry. You know, shortly after we launched pride bytes, we won best dog Toy of the Year in the pet space. And that was really fun. We we really, you know, reached, you know, the farthest corners, we could I think we spend about 33,000 retail stores in North America within the first six months. So it was like a blazing speed and from learn from there going over to China nearly 60 times over an eight year period. And what I realized is just too hard to do this. And, you know, I met two of my other awesome co founders who are doing really amazing things and operations, and also manufacturing and transparency and manufacturing. And when I met them, and we started talking about, hey, this world where anybody can come up with an idea and go from idea to shelf. Without, you know, really a lot of effort, to me was mind blowing, right? Spending 30 hours on flights and going through the rigor of day to day factory meetings and all night in the morning and working back in America. So it was a lot and especially, you know, with my family growing at the time, so in general, you know, I think that’s, that’s really where the idea was spawned.

george grombacher 3:00
Go into China 60 times in eight years.

Unknown Speaker 3:02
Yes, it was a lot. And I actually learned the language to manage my business because I lost my business partner. I want points. And my early days, who was my connection to China, so really, you know, got really enamored with the culture and understanding kind of the relationships over there as well.

george grombacher 3:21
So you, you seem like you’re a pretty young guy. How many entrepreneurial swings are bites of the Apple did you have before gamba

Unknown Speaker 3:33
hadn’t more than a couple that didn’t work? Well.

george grombacher 3:38
So I mean, that’s, that’s, that’s, it’s like, you’re obviously an extremely driven human being to do the things that you’ve just described. And then to have the success of certainly gamba and then pride bytes, which happened seemingly really quickly. So that that must have been a unique experience of just grinding, grinding, grinding, and then all of a sudden, this one thing just starts on fire.

Unknown Speaker 4:02
Yeah, you know, it was kind of like the perfect storm, I would say, you know, all together one time, going from not having enough money in our bank accounts, to be able to pay employees that pride bytes to watch and kind of this perfect vision come together with Kemba and all the right talents and it just, you know, blazing a trail, and really fun to see kind of both experiences and, you know, go through all that. But I think, nonetheless, just continuing to learn and, you know, continue to work with great people.

george grombacher 4:32
Yeah, I appreciate that. All right. So it’s, it’s, it’s pretty, it’s what you’ve created is, it’s exciting. It’s very, very, very cool. If I am somebody who is a creative person, I’ve got an idea for a product or a thing. How, how does it

Unknown Speaker 4:51
work? Yeah, so, you know, come to gambia.com and fill out our questionnaire. That’s kind of First things first, let us know more about us. We can help guide you in that direction. gamba is one of I think what we always share is one of the cool thing about gamba is we’re not bound to four walls. So literally, we have experts in factories all over the world. So when you go into the local design shop, or if you’re going to a local trading company, you’re working with those people. We’d like to use our team of experts who are all incredible creators, and I can talk about them as we go forward. But to really, you know, leverage our team to go out there and find the best. And so you come to gamba, we learn more about you, we ask You really like five, six simple questions at the end to really break down a proposal. And the way that we’re thinking about it is, you know, when you’re when you launch our product, or you launch a product company, you’re going from research to logistics. In between you’ll, you’ll hit all the stages, we like to define them specifically as concept design, sourcing, production management, QC, in those two hockey sticks, right. And I think from that perspective, it’s I think it’s interesting to see then the complexity of the product fall underneath. So we then we talked about, hey, like, are you watching a white label product, or like I said, from what we did at Pride vise completely unique product that has never been out on the market. And so in between there, there’s a scale of complexity, whether it has no moving parts, or it has moving parts or contains electronics. So it really kind of position you within that journey, whatever your product falls into. And then when we do that, we have a certain amount of steps and a workflow that’s assigned to what you’re going through. And oftentimes, that’s a big, big piece of it, because many people, they go through the experience of launching product, it gets really expensive, and cumbersome, etcetera, they have all these issues, because they’re not held to any workflow. Right. And then finally, you know, depending on where you’re at, in your spectrum, whether a new company or one that’s existing, we really bring that guidance. So you can actually choose to be guided by Demba. Right, or choose to be guided by an expert, right, that’s in our network, all of which is which something that we have for you in terms of your journey to make it easier to go from idea to

george grombacher 7:11
show. Nice. So, obviously, there’s there’s a million benefits, there’s, there’s no how there’s expertise, there’s wisdom of actually doing it. Right, right. You know, so in so that is the value that the that I the Creator receive. How How does benefit or gamble win?

Unknown Speaker 7:36
Yeah, so gamba, we kind of work on two things. You know, the model is based on milestones. So um, when you cross through a milestone, it’s a it’s a payment. We’re not like your traditional sourcing company, which takes a percentage of the transaction. Now, we do have services that are percentage based, if you have large buying opportunities, that we we kind of enlist all the gamba resources together to help you. But really, realistically, you know, we have a journey, we can give you a price immediately based on the product that you have. So pretty simple, pretty straightforward, no hidden fees, that whole nine.

george grombacher 8:15
And shows like Shark Tank have have made, I think entrepreneurship super exciting and intriguing for people. And not everybody’s necessarily meant to be an entrepreneur, and not every idea is meant to actually become a thing. So on your end, how do you vet opportunities?

Unknown Speaker 8:36
That’s very interesting. You know, we try to stay out of the judgment game as much as we can. Now we have certain you know, view, of course, there’s going to have something there when you see a product for the first time. I typically like to bet on the entrepreneur, if that’s the the, you know, kind of the focus that we go through. But yeah, I mean, I think I always tell people is like, you know, a mediocre idea, and a really good entrepreneur will make a company successful. Right. So I think from a perspective of ideas, you know, I think it’s helped planned you are, how prepared you are, how thoughtful you are about how you’re going to execute that. So all those things go into the consideration when we’re thinking about somebody less so we’ve worked on really the the wide spectrum of products, so it never ceases to amaze me.

george grombacher 9:23
Yeah, is there is are there things that are just not within the scope of of the work you’re wanting to do or able to do?

Unknown Speaker 9:36
You know, we have a pretty wide scope because we will find any expert right and any factory relationship etc for us. So, in terms of our ability to vet we kind of really cover the gamut. We have kind of four specific focuses that we like to say that we’re very, very strong at which is Home and Kitchen products, baby products. Sports and outdoors, those categories, were really doing a lot of products, helping people not only create new products, but really relocating and de risking supply chains. So, those those core focuses, I think are, you know, if you’re in that space, it’s definitely somebody we should talk to

george grombacher 10:18
relocating and derisking supply chain has that been issue recently, Steven?

Unknown Speaker 10:25
That has been a lot in the news. So, you know, for our case, we just want to make sure that everybody is kind of aware of what’s what’s happening. And, you know, what, what would happen if, you know if in case something goes goes wrong, so just constantly thinking through those?

george grombacher 10:41
Yeah, certainly. And, obviously, a ton of experience in China. Now we’re how are you? How are you constantly? Are you constantly looking for new opportunities, and new avenues and new relationships?

Unknown Speaker 10:59
You know, in general, I’m always like that, you know, I think, you know, constantly learning from others, and, you know, trying to get connected to meet smarter people, right. And so I think, from the aspect of getting out there, and the globalization that’s going on, right now, in supply chain, I think, you know, you, you need to, like you need to be understanding that the world is much bigger, and, you know, we have a lot more coverage. And now the infrastructures and other countries are known to support, you know, different different manufacturing abilities. So, I think it’s always good. And, as we, you know, took a dynamic shift, you know, it’s almost like, you know, like Mexico, South America, everyone thought that, when everything hit with COVID, that, Hey, we gotta go closer to home, not understanding kind of the where the infrastructure is today. So I think it’s always good to, you know, keep keep updated on where things are. Yeah.

george grombacher 11:47
So fascinating to try and read those tea leaves. But I can’t imagine that we’re ever going to, but as I say, that you just never know. So it’s a matter of being able to be nimble and to be make decisions to maintain existing relationships and constantly be looking for for new avenues to better serve people.

Unknown Speaker 12:09
Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah, that’s exactly how we think. And, you know, we’re just fortunate, I think, I’ve always wanted to work in this global company. I’ve always wanted to understand cultures and amongst people, and my grandfather, was an entrepreneur, for me that traveled overseas. And I think from, you know, us here is really trying to celebrate it all, no matter where it is, and understand, like, who’s the best at what, so we can really hone in on, you know, that that core focus?

george grombacher 12:33
Yeah, I imagine just your experience. And how many years ago, did you start going to China?

Unknown Speaker 12:43
I started going to turn a great question around early 2010. So was my first time over there.

george grombacher 12:50
Okay. So it’s been, it’s been a long time. And I imagine that that in that 12 year, give or take, it’s probably changed immensely.

Unknown Speaker 13:00
You know, you didn’t have, you couldn’t really have Wi Fi because Wi Fi wasn’t readily available for some of the roads over there. So you would have to like go and like, you know, buy a unit that would, you know, basically overheat in like, 10 minutes. So you got, like, spurts and they would plug it in somewhere. And yeah, I mean to today, we’re, you know, it’s funny, it’s like a call, call my grandfather when I was starting out in that he was like, wow, you have to really, it’s amazing. And here you are right next to me, you know, and his days to you’re sending telegrams back and forth. So it’s really incredible, what’s happening. And I think really, around the rest of the world, as well as it’s really amazing.

george grombacher 13:33
So when you think about entrepreneurship, do you think that that we’re kind of coming into the golden age of it? Or are we there now?

Unknown Speaker 13:44
You know, I’m, I am amazed every day of like, the new products I see. You know, we always have this like thought and my, my world was like, hit him where they ain’t right. So find the blue oceans and run towards them and always like, you know, think, Okay, well, they’re closing they’re gonna be closing and then you find the next level products that that hit the market. So I think that you know, we’re currently seeing really amazing innovation and it’s inspiring I was with a client yesterday and the baby space that really motivated me as well and inspire me so I think being around those types of people is infectious and it breeds new products and so you know, we’re really hoping to be kind of at that center point again back here where all value is created in the in the supply chain. And you know, we really cultivating that those new products as new great, great ideas.

george grombacher 14:29
Yeah, what a cool thing to be able to have these awesome entrepreneurs come into your you know, life and get motivated and inspired by them. I’m sure that you are an idea person also where you’re always come up with new things, but to be able to help somebody, for lack of a better term give birth to two products and ideas must be super gratifying and inspiring.

Unknown Speaker 14:55
Yeah, it’s cool, really cool to walk in somewhere and see your product on the shelf, right? So they tend to Well, you know, nowadays when you say product developments and people think you’re creating technology, right, it’s immediate technology play, and I’m making an app. Right. So it’s cool to have make those physical products and really celebrate those. Because yeah, I mean, I think, as we all saw, we became such a consumer culture through through the last couple of years. And, you know, that’s going to continue to see that and I think now we’re getting to see products from all over now that it’s, it’s becoming easier. So really cool to see this next wave of product innovation.

george grombacher 15:31
Do you see or think that there? Is an appetite for growth? Have in maybe there already is of manufacturing here in the United States?

Unknown Speaker 15:43
Yeah, you know, we think a lot about that at gamba. You know, just your supply chain, closer to home. And wonder, you know, over time, are we going to see a shift in prices? Because people want that? You know, we’re watching it very closely. And, you know, very supportive of all those things that can happen here in states with manufacturing. So, just excited to see the transformation, if it does does happen to come back.

george grombacher 16:09
Yeah. Should be it should be interesting to see. That’s great. Advice to two people who have an idea.

Unknown Speaker 16:19
Yeah, I think, do your research. You know, there’s, there’s so much available to you right now. You can, you know, have all of these statistical analysis, product and ROI and, you know, different things that like I never thought about, right, like, I was just thinking like, but you know, make products sell product at the very early ages, especially, you know, getting out of college, that now like you can really think through all the different analysis, where it’s going, you know, how it’s going to sell how you can advertise and sell like, everything. So be prepared, because somebody else will be, and you don’t want to get caught later on, you jump into something and you think you’re going down the right path, and then you get a competitor and they just knock you out. Right. So really think be thoughtful about your approach.

george grombacher 17:06
Yeah, I think that that’s, that’s, that’s great advice, right there is is there a certain up? And I this is an honest question. Is there like cuz that’s, that’s, that’s, that’s, that’s big, right? And go get an MBA, where where would you counsel people to go and start to pick up some of that information?

Unknown Speaker 17:25
Yeah, I mean, I, you know, I start with, I think Alibaba is a good a good like network of like, hey, there’s products out there. You know what, what exists since you can like start searching factories and whatnot. Interesting about Alibaba is like, you never know who you’re talking to. So I think you got to be careful after that. So kind of use of exploration and then go from there. Amazon, we use a lot of Zung, Guru Helium 10, these like statistical analysis tools that you can go in and analyze really a full product category and the channel, kind of everything that you need to think through for ROI analysis. So I think those are kind of the the more detailed versions of like, what I would go after on jungle scouts and other one, right, these tools that can really help you analyze the markets and see which which are capable. So

george grombacher 18:12
love it. Steven, you’ve already given us a lot that people are ready for that decision making tip, what do you have for them?

Unknown Speaker 18:18
You know, my different making tip is, you know, grit and consistency. I think that, you know, like I said earlier, mediocre idea, great entrepreneur, you know, you’ll be successful. So I think, you know, there’s a lot of people out there today and everyone works long hours, everyone you know, is up early in the morning, doing podcasts doing other things, right, that are getting them ahead. So if you say if grit, you know, have a lot of grit and stay consistent that you’ll you’ll end up okay.

george grombacher 18:47
Well, I think that that is great stuff that definitely gets Come on. Steven, thank you so much. Where? Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage with Canva

Unknown Speaker 18:58
they can go to canva.com. Fill out our questionnaire and I’ll get in touch with somebody to get back to you right away.

george grombacher 19:05
Excellent. If you enjoyed as much as I did, just even your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to gamble.com that’s gmbh.com and get started bringing that idea to life. Thanks again, Steven.

Unknown Speaker 19:22
Thank you very much, George. Appreciate it.

george grombacher 19:23
And until next time, keep fighting the good fight. We’re all in this together.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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