11,500 Paying Him To Manage One-Piece Wardrobe with Blake Smith

Blake Smith

In Episode #348, Nathan interviews Blake Smith, CEO of Cladwell – a SaaS business that helps you to dress exceptionally well with the smallest possible wardrobe. Blake and his team tried over 20 different revenue models before they perfected their business – and they’re hoping to hit $1 million in revenue this year. Listen in to hear how to stay friendly with ex-co-founders, why you need to test and test your ad channels, and why Blake wishes he’d bootstrapped his company.

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Famous 5:

  • Favorite Business Book? – Anything in the HBR series
  • What CEO do you follow? —Sheryl Sandberg
  • Favorite online tool? — Google Calendar
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— No
  • If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be? —That it was okay to follow my curiosity

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:30 – Nathan’s introduction
  • 01:47 – Cladwell helps you do more with fewer items of clothing
  • 02:11 – They sell a tool that helps you to dress each day and cut down your wardrobe
  • 03:19 – Founded 2 ½ years ago
  • 03:20 – Over 200k people have filled out their initial questionnaire
  • 03:42 – A B2C SaaS business – women’s side pays $15 per quarter and men’s side pays $21 per quarter
  • 03:55 – Launched as a men’s business but women now make up 60% of business
  • 04:15 – 11,500 customers in March 2016
  • 04:46 – Customer Acquisition Cost is about $17
  • 05:05 – Almost profitable – currently spending $30k per month on marketing
  • 05:30 – Monthly Revenue Per User is about $6
  • 05:40 – MRR is about $70k per month
  • 05:57 – Have raised $1.8 million in funding
  • 06:22 – Started with 3 other founders, and ended up with 1 other
  • 07:00 – “My closest co-founder…we both realized that we were made to lead companies. We’re still really good friends”
  • 07:55 – “If I could do it over again, I would have started bootstrapping”
  • 08:54 – First year revenue was $1000
  • 09:12 – Started out trying affiliate marketing and drop-shipping
  • 10:00 – “We tested 22 different permutations of a business model until we came up with one that worked”
  • 11:04 – First year revenue was really about $10k; second year $100k; “We’re planning to hit a million this year”
  • 11:24 – They advertise in places where people are looking for advice
  • 12:00 – Monthly churn is 5% – ‘It’s our worst number at the moment’
  • 12:43 – Based in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • 13:10 – 6 employees
  • 14:16 – What valuation would Blake want for his first priced round? “Around $10 million”
  • 15:37 – Blake doesn’t want to scale ad spend until he’s seriously tested each channel
  • 16:13 – “We killed it on YouTube last summer by doing revenue shares with all the influencers in men’s fashion”
  • 14:17 – Connect with Blake via email
  • 18:55 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Spend smart. Don’t put more money into ad spend until you really understand every channel you’re using.
  2. Test and test and test and pivot.
  3. It’s okay to follow your curiosity and see where you end up

Resources Mentioned:

  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for cheapest price possible.
  • Freshbooks – The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
  • Leadpages  – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
  • Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5 hour drive) to listen to audio books.