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Huron: 🧼 Matt Mullenax on launching a male skincare brand in a female dominated industry

Matt Mullenax

Founder & CEO, Huron

Harvey Hodd

Host & CEO of Blueprint

This week Huron’s Matt Mullenax tells us how he challenged the female dominated skincare industry with premium but affordable bathroom alternatives for men. Matt explains how personal experience of poor skin health led him to create a brand that provides consistent value and an empathetic service to its customers [8:35]. He is an evangelist for a test and learn approach, which saw him create a fake product designed to assess demand for what would become Huron [10:50]

We also discuss how the brand went about building an initial audience [18:16] and its smart use of content to educate customers [19:22]. Matt then goes on to share Huron’s strategies around acquisition [22:00], retention [26:42] and future expansion [29:23], before giving us his #1 learning from his years in business [32:30].  


Harvey [00:00:04] I'm Harvey Hodd, the co-founder and CEO Blueprint, Blueprint are reimagining how consumers purchase and communicate with brands, enabling purchasing, payment, booking during a one to one shop. Inside SMS, WhatsApp and Messenger. Today I'm speaking to Matt Mullenax, founder of Huron. Matt spent a number of years at brands like Bonobos and Nike before challenging the outdated and female led skincare market with Huron a DTC men's skincare brands. How are you doing, Matt? 

Matt [00:00:41] Doing well Harvey, thanks for having me. 

Harvey [00:00:42] Not a problem. It's great to have you here. As we were just mentioning, I'm a massive fan and of skincare. So this is a super interesting conversation for me. For our listeners that don't have a ton of context to kick things off. How would you explain your Huron in your own words? 

Matt [00:00:58] So Huron is a personal care brand for guys everywhere. What do we mean by that? We mean that, you know, you could be living in New York, you could be living in L.A., you could be living in Milwaukee, around from Ohio. You know, the point is, super high quality premium skin care should be accessible and affordable to all. So super high quality ingredients, amazing formulations. My partner actually spent a number of years developing products for some of the best and most recognizable brands in the world. So the thought was to channel that level of product quality and maybe bring it down to the consumer who is used to shopping for mass brands at your local drugstore or pharmacy. 

Harvey [00:01:37] Cool, ok. And I guess immediately it goes kind of against the grain in what traditionally is dominated by female offerings. 

Matt [00:01:48] Yeah, yeah, I think you're spot on in that regard. You know, I kind of from a professional perspective, I started to get an interest in the skin care category around 2012. I was actually working for a consumer focused private equity firm, investing in brands, many of whom were in the female skin care space. I was just blown away by the amazing brands, the level of authenticity from founders, the cool packaging, obviously liked the margin structure, the connectability to end consumer. And then I kind of looked at what was currently on the men's market. And, you know, there were a lot of lotions and potions that were super expensive on one end and then there was kind of the usual Old Spice stuff for men, etc. on the other end, which is what I was accustomed to buying for years and years and years. But there wasn't anything in the middle ground, I think professionally that was like an earmark for me as this is a super interesting category where I feel like I at least have some experience as a consumer myself. 

Harvey [00:02:44] Cool and I guess I did point then is to take you back a bit, so before Huron. You studied economics at Brown before as you touched on going into investment banking, I guess not the most natural journey into eCom. I say natural quite loosely. There isn't really any natural journey into that. Is that because you had exposure to some of those kind DNVB's and that kind of catalyst at the start of the DTC economy and such? 

Matt [00:03:14] Yeah, good question. I mean, I think if you kind of rewind things back a bit timeframe wise, this was 2008 where DTC didn't exist. Right. There was this notion of selling things online, which was very much a novel concept. It was Amazon. Right. And, you know, I was in an investment banking group at Morgan Stanley in 2008 and the world was kind of melting from the financial crisis. And it was my first job out of school. Six months out. And I was like, well, I wonder if this is what the working world standard is, you know, typically. So, you know, certainly frustrated with what I was learning and obviously like walking into work every day feeling like the world was coming crashing down all around you. So I sort of put some feelers out there and see, like, what else is out there that maybe on the flipside of this, that maybe a growing brand or something I feel like I could add a little bit more value immediately. And I was connected to Andy Dunn at Bonobos and we met over a series of a few weeks in 2008. And I was blown away around kind of his thought process around connecting with the end consumer, what they're ultimately doing. And I decided to leave banking to join Bonobos. And I vividly remember telling some of my friends at the time, it's like, wait, you're quitting banking to go work at a company that sells pants online? And they're like, yes sweet good luck. But really, you know, we're very fortunate that it worked out. But, you know, it was just a tremendous learning opportunity and really to kind of be at the. You know, the ground stage of what would ultimately become the DTC world. So just tremendous experience there. You know, I think, again, that end relationship with the customer was something that was really cultivated at bonobo's and really stuck with me is what the DTC world can offer you as a brand, which is this like crazy, unique, one on one engagement with who is ultimately purchasing or about the purchase your products. And that was just, you know, like I said, a tremendous experience for me. 

Harvey [00:05:06] Yeah. That must have been crazy. I mean, one of the trailblazers in the DTC space, if not the trailblazer. I think you're seeing that as a ton of early team members at Bonobos that have gone on to build huge companies. So was it just chaos, almost because things grew so fast? I know you're in finance. And so you had a real kind of deep dove into DTC as a whole. But I guess you could really get in the thick of it. 

Matt [00:05:38] It was rather chaotic. I think that's probably the right term to describe the times. You know what's funny now and obviously being part of this ecosystem now, there are so many service providers, right. So there's outsource fulfillment centers, there are co-manufacturers, there are marketing service providers, etc. And none of those existed back then. So we would get an order. One of my buddies would run up to the garment district in New York and pick up pants and bags of five at a time. He'd shove a many huge hockey bag and take the AC train back down to Chelsea and drop them off. And I would unpack them, pack them in boxes. We'd stack them next to the door. That's at five forty eight. We would bag them up in these huge FedEx bags and sprint down the block and hope that we made it before the 6 pm. cutoff. So now brands don't typically have to worry about that stuff. But, you know, that was kind of our day to day. You know, we all kind of had separate roles within the company. But, you know, someone was always handling customer service when we were kind of on the fulfillment front. You know, it's really kind of an all hands on deck at all times. Not to mention we were surrounded by five thousand pairs of quarter pants. So it was just it was certainly a different time. 

Harvey [00:06:46] I can imagine. And then post that it was a little change of scenery to Nike as a strategic planner. So what what would that kind of role encompass and what did you take from that before starting Huron? 

Matt [00:06:59] Yeah, so even kind of before Bonobos and ultimately working at Nike, you know, I'd spent some time in a consumer private equity role in Chicago where we were investing in brands like Bonobos. So I think from that experience that gave me a little bit of a, you know, an operators hat, which is to say, you know, I get the benefit of seeing a bunch of different business models understanding entrepreneurial skill sets that I really admired, categories that I thought were super interesting. Obviously, the personal care category being one of them. And just good to see a lot of different business perspectives and whatnot. So that was a very important stop on the road for me. So was there for three years and then going to business school and Nike was my summer internship before my first and second year. Right. And I think for me the thesis was, you know, I had a very fortunate background to have spent time in consumer finance and spent time at a younger stage company like Bonobos but I had really never spent time at a big co consumer business. And for me, that was kind of the last leg of the stool. And I wasn't really sure how I would like the experience. I was certainly drawn to the consumer category in general. I didn't really picture myself as kind of a big company person. But, you know, a 10 week internship was a great way to test that out. And I think for me, what I saw was, you know, the work was very interesting. It's my favorite brand in the world. But I just found that, you know, I wasn't maybe as motivated as working at a smaller stage company. We were just kind of driving at all times. So it was certainly a good experience. But at the end of the day, I just didn't think it was necessarily for me. 

Harvey [00:08:33] Ok and then so you combined almost a decade worth of experience to then start Huron in 2018. And you mentioned earlier. So it was really a case of I've seen kind of the dynamics within the agency and understand the ecosystem really well and the economics around the business. And then it was that you just identified an amazing opportunity around male skincare as an opportunity for you to build your own. 

Matt [00:09:03] Yeah and you know, aside from kind of the business perspective of having seen many of these brands, you know, I think, you know, arguably more important was my own personal experience. Like I was a kid that grew up with bad skin. So I had tried seemingly everything. I'd gone to your local grocery store or pharmacy. And, you know, my mom would even schedule me dermatologist appointments. And for some reason, I was like the one kid who defeated all those odds. Like, they they just didn't work for me, which was frustrating. And I think it weighed on me immensely, a bit, because by every other means, I was a pretty healthy person. So, you know, I was an athlete growing up, I played football in college. You know, I worked out, I ate healthy, but my skin didn't reflect that. I didn't understand why. I think for me, that was really kind of the thesis and the narrative behind here on which was I eventually stumbled upon a set of products and like a better for you ethos, which I felt like we could channel some of the higher end brands that were doing that very, very well and bring it to a much broader consumer audience. But I think kind of having that understanding and that empathy of a customer that you're ultimately serving really gives us a little bit of a leg up because we can be super engaging. I mean, when I answer customer service tickets, it's like "Hey man, I've been in those shoes", it sucks, it's not fun. That's what I went through. And it's not by any means stealing the thunder from someone who's e-mailing us, but it creates this level of connectivity or collaboration or empathy that I don't think a lot of others have. So it creates this really interesting, inviting, welcoming, safe space that we can offer. 

Harvey [00:10:32] Yeah, I agree 100 percent. I think you touched on it there about how skincare is kind of a really intrinsic part of your personality. And you touched on that about how it could really affect your mood and then general things like that. I totally agree and I guess that has a really high emotional pull for a brand and a product. And you then went on over the next year to bootstrap Huron. That's quite key part I guess in the starting of a business, especially in the DTC space, that is probably a little bit against the grain of where I guess some of the co's you might have seen or been at previously. Was that always your strategy to kind of of test and learn real quick? 

Matt [00:11:12] Yeah, so right after graduation from Stanford, we did bootstrap for a bit. And that was kind of just me testing the waters. You know, I think one of the misnomers of entrepreneurship is all entrepreneurs are risk seeking. Right. And it's actually quite the opposite. You know, I'm probably the most risk mitigant person. I'm always looking for ways to kind of substantiate theses and hypotheses and whatnot. So I spent the next few months just testing. Yeah. You know, we sent on the survey kind of better understand both consumer behavior and purchasing behavior. From what brands do you buy? What products do you like, which price points are you comfortable spending? All that. And then we ultimately launched a fake brand to kind of getting an understanding for I feel like there's momentum and runway here. But can we actually validate that in the wild? So all those processes where we're done via bootstrapping. But, you know, once we decided to kind of go all in, so to speak, you know, we did raise a little bit of money and we'll get to it in a little bit. But, you know, that was to help with the creative build and also the help with the product development piece, which both of which can be a little expensive and from the early days of Bonobos, I kind of understood the power of what brand could be. And I wanted to work with a great creative agency who could help bring that brand to life and then enter Gin Lane. So part of the fundraising efforts were to help kind of pay for that process. 

Harvey [00:12:31] Yeah. That makes complete sense. And I guess just thinking about one step, when you initially bootstrap and with testing, you had no product. Right? You're saying like it was a fake brand. And how long did that process kind of take? 

Matt [00:12:45] So we really kind of started toying with this idea probably around June or July of 2017. And we probably finished testing March or April of 2018. So it was a lot of kind of behind the scenes nights and weekends type entrepreneurship where, you know, I've done some consulting work during the day, but then drinking as much caffeine as humanly possible and staying up late and figuring out ways we could actually kind of assess the opportunity at hand here. So we ultimately launched the site kind of in Q1 of 2018 and monitored that for a number of weeks and felt like we had enough signal strength to go ahead and pursue this full time. 

Harvey [00:13:22] Okay. Yeah, that sounds really interesting, I guess to be able to test things and build, I think we've seen a lot where it's just kind of jump in the deep end, which is fine in many cases. But actually first strategize. It seems really appropriate. And then you raised capital and worked with the omnipresent Gin Lane. For context they were the the kind of go to DTC branding agency now Pattern Brands and build and operate their own brands. Was that because you knew them through Bonobos and your time there or was it because you generally saw throughout the ecosystem, I knew power and friends would have having d2c I think was more of the latter. 

Matt [00:14:09] I mean, my kind of approach to finding a creative agency partner was kind of twofold. One, we wanted to set ourself up for as much success as possible, obviously. So we wanted to see who has the best track record of setting brands up for exactly that. But secondly is who I feel a personal connection with, because this is gonna be such an important part of the brand that you kind of got to get along with who's helping you bring this to market. And so, I mean, we met with upwards of 30 different creative agencies, folks in the Midwest, the West Coast, here in New York. And we were able to get an introduction to Gin Lane through a mutual friend. And I had a chance to sit down with their team. And I met with Emmett. And I just felt like, you know, we had a 30 minute session where we would just spit balling ideas. And I think he has a crazy ability to kind of understand and internalize, like what you're saying from a very early kind of brand vision perspective and then just like blow it out of the water. And I think after 30 minutes, you just kind of spit balling with him. You know, I was very excited. He seemed like someone that was also really eager and opportunistic about the idea. And again, I found there to be a personal connection there, which certainly mattered for me. And I said this a few times before. But, you know, for someone like a creative partner, it's not an agency. It's not a vendor. You're not a client. It is a true partnership. And I think that I wanted to be partners with someone that understood that dynamic and Gin Lane team are certainly that.

Harvey [00:15:41] Yeah, and they're really the best of the best. So that kind of put a stake in the ground, I guess, when raising capital and when entering the industry that you're coming with the big guns and then following on from that, you launch to a face wash, face lotion, body wash and an ice stick. So what was the thinking behind that? And that's part of the product and curation at the moment was that through your testing and those data sets that you brought on. Or was it also kind of rooted in supply chain and things like that? 

Matt [00:16:12] You know, that was more the former you know, once we had launched kind of this test brand, we understood which products consumers were naturally gravitating to. And I think we kind of compartmentalize that and said, you know, where their natural drop off in terms of products and product pages that are being viewed. And then we kind of started there and obviously we layered on top of that. My partner Matt's expertise from being in the category for 25 years to say, you know what within the men's category is really compelling for this consumer. And I think for us, we wanted to establish ourselves by creating the best basics. Right. So we wanted products that guys felt familiar with because this category is a little awkward, right? It's not something that guys stand atop the mountains and say, like, I use X body wash. Right. That's something that just kind of appears in your shower. So we wanted to understand, like, how could we create kind of a better gateway drug, so to speak, to say I know exactly how a body wash works. There's lower barriers to entry. Like, yes, I'm willing to not use X this month and explore Y. And hopefully we can be Y. I think through that initiative, like once we got that particular consumer inside the brand door of Huron, could we then have the opportunity to speak to them in a very relatable manner? Make him or her feel like they're totally up to speed on what our mission is and what we're trying to do and then be able to not necessarily push them, but explain to him or her the benefits of these products in general. So we will continue to bring products to market that we're super excited about, that we've kind of developed in tandem with a lot of our consumers, kind of our early consumers, just based on product feedback and what they like, what they don't like, what they expect to see from us. But in terms of launch assortment, it was really kind of based upon that early brand test kind of learning that's experiencing the category. 

Harvey [00:18:02] So that tight feedback loop is rooted in D2C and sure on in exclusively DTC led from the beginning. How did you go about building your initial audience that way? I know the industry has changed a ton over the last kind of five years, which is becoming increasingly difficult to do that. 

Matt [00:18:20] Yeah. Good question. I mean, I wish there were more of a secret source or proprietary formula here, but we literally just kind of went through our existing Gmail email list and blanketed everyone. So we said, here's exactly what we're doing here is kind of the opportunity at hand. Here is kind of our angle. You know, we'd be super fortuned if you were to sign up and we'll kind of keep you in the loop on what we're doing. I think it was kind of funny, I would get emails back from folks I probably haven't spoken to in five or seven years, just asking who are you? So that was kind of an interesting discovery phase. So that was kind of like one angle. The other angle was just getting some early social traction. So putting up some Instagram ads with assets from our photo shoot, just kind of letting people know that we're here on we're coming to the market in a few weeks or months. You know, here's what kind of the mission is, and we'd be super appreciative if you were to follow along.

Harvey [00:19:12] Cool, so it was almost like growth hacking from the early days. 

Matt [00:19:16] Brute force. Yeah. 

Harvey [00:19:18] Nice. And inherently, there is an educational piece with Huron because mostly in the way that skincare isn't normally associated with a male demographic. Like how have you built that. How do you think about that. Is it through content, is it through kind of more brutalistic design and branding. How is that? 

Matt [00:19:41] Yeah, I mean, I think it's a little two fold. So I think it's both of those pieces. So first, on the content side, you know, we're we're trying to think, how can we provide value to this end consumer? Like, for instance, over the weekend, we put together a piece of content around masks, right. Which is, you know, a lot of consumers are starting to see breakouts in and around kind of the mask area. But in like ways you can help treat it, whether it's like here's how you can wash your mask or the importance of getting a new mask every X number of days. So we're trying to stay relevant and actually provide value to our consumers because we don't just want to post content to post content. Right. We feel like we would never post something unless we could actually get something out of it. So we have a pretty high bar for that. And then secondly. So one of the things we'd explored at Gin Lane, which really gained a lot of traction, was just this element of a minimalist approach. Right. Where in a foreign category for guys who aren't incredibly well versed in skin care, they don't want a novel to read in terms of packaging. Right. So for us, like, let's just keep it super simple, straightforward, transparent, etc. So even like on our packaging, for instance, we provide usage claims for our body wash. It's quarter size. Right. And that's two fold one. Some guys are super heavy handed. They have no idea how much product to use. So it's like, listen, you don't need to use that much product. And if you don't use that much product, this will actually last you a pretty long time. So in a way, we're kind of like looking out for him a little bit. There is an educational component which, as we've adopted of tone of kind of like this persona of an older brother where it's like, you know, everything. But we're here to kind of help you go through the process on your own, where we may know a little bit more, but we're not trying to be like some know it all of sorts. We're here to provide awesome products. You know, those relatable uses, claims, interesting pieces of content. But we're here to help you help yourself. Right. We're not telling you what to do. We're providing you a platform of options that you can kind of pick your own destiny or choose your own destiny. So, again, I think that kind of notion of relatability or authenticity has been pretty well received. 

Harvey [00:21:51]  I really like the idea of the older brother kind of tone of voice or guidance and that directly links to relatatibility. And thenI'd like to touch on kind of two key elements. One around acquisition and generally how you've scaled that and how that looks into the future. And on the other side of the table the retention piece. So I guess initially with acquisition, like aside from building that initial community and the spark at the start for Huron, how have you looked over the last year. So say when you've taken capital on and now it's it's kind of a growth phase. How do you scale that? Do you focus predominantly on social or is there now kind of an off-line piece to it as well, or just generally let your thinking around that? 

Matt [00:22:39] You know, the way that we kind of bucket things is kind of social, there's off social and then offline. If you will, which could be the kind of IRL, social for a DTC brand. I mean, you know, it's kind of table stakes to have some sort of presence in the digital sphere. Yes. I think for better for worse, we sucked at paid social to start. And I think that's a largely result of yours truly running the page social efforts. But I thought it was important actually for us to go through the learning process to understand how these things work and how the back end of the Facebook platform works and how the algorithm works and understand what the pain points out, what the frustrations are. Now, after doing that for six months. I feel much better equipped to then assess an agency or assess a partner to say you're doing a phenomenal job. You're in a terrible job, like to make campaign level recommendations, to think about strategies, to think about audience targeting. And I would have had no idea about any of those things if I weren't in the driver's seat for at least some point of time. So even though it's kind of like, you know, it was it was tough at the start because I didn't think we were as efficient as we needed to be. I felt like we kind of built the infrastructure so that down the road we could be wildly efficient because we can really push people to get CPA's where we want them to be, to get our ROAS targets hit. And I think, again, that allowed us to be more capital efficient going forward. We think about kind of off social, you know, we've experimented and explored with, you know, sponsoring e-mails and things like that and say what is in an audience base that we feel should be a here on Huron, then find those opportunities. I would say we've had a decent success in partnering with a few of those different email providers and other partnered brands. I think what we're seeing, though, is I mean, look, we're super small team, we're three from from the corporate side. So we we work with a few partners as as freelance consultants, but they're really only three of us day to day. Yeah. And I think one of the biggest things I've learned over the first year is just the importance of focus. You really have to understand, like, what are those efficient channels and given the world is full of uncertainty right now, we're quadrupling down on areas where we're efficient. So with the results of kind of email, we're saying like maybe we just take a step back and maybe we just focus on the channels that are most efficient for us. And then lastly, is kind of the IRL component, getting actually off the digital sphere and think about where else can we be seen, noticed, introduced to consumers. Right. And I think some of that we've done to date through the fitness world, through crossfit in particular. I think that's been a really efficient vehicle for us but obviously, given the state of Covid, a lot of gyms are closed right now. So that's not a superefficient channel for us. So I think that becomes really, really interesting for us down the road and continue to be. But, you know, for us, it's it's really kind of refining the scope and honing in the scope on what's worked for us and then understanding what unit economics are to a T and then making sure we can exhaust all the efficiencies out of those particular channels. 

Harvey [00:25:46] Yeah, one hundred percent. I think it's interesting how you said that kind of like to learn by doing mentality at the start, regardless if it was working or not like to the extent that you'd want it to. I mean, you having that intrinsic and deep understanding of it is is seemingly really key. And the focus element, like we see a ton where everyone is jumping from all of these different areas or avenues that the promise this kind of silver bullet as such and that's just never the case. So and I really like the IRL elements of that, that we're seeing more of it. Yeah, it's not directly or kind of just inherently as efficient as something that you can track every touchpoint with, such as online and social. But there is that kind of that element of personality and community that you can build that is very difficult doing that online. And then something we look at a time and then looking on the other side of things on retention being a replenishable product. I don't know the velocity of your products. I know it can change it might be a month maybe two, potentially longer. Like, how do you look at once that customers with you, how do you how do you keep them invigorated, engaged and coming back ultimately when theoretically or historically they might have gone to a retail store or a supermarket? 

Matt [00:27:05] Yeah, really good question. I think for us, you know, it's an elixir of a few things. One, it's it's understanding each consumer. So in this category in particular, it's actually pretty important to know what you Harvey do in your day to day life, right? Yeah. If you are a gym trainer and you're active four or five times a day, you're probably showering at a different cadence than at home than a guy who may be traveling or a woman or maybe traveling four or five times a week for work. Right. So you have to walk a fine line up, which is very difficult is how do we get out in front of your repurchase mindset, such as like am I going to proactively go to the website and reorder? Am going to wait for an email as a nudge or can we send you an email maybe four to six days before you're out of product. Because we know about how quickly you're going through these products. I think the fine line between sending that email and then sending an email to someone who may not be showering at home is frequently for whatever reason. And that becomes annoying. Right. And we don't want to pester our consumers by any means. So one of the things we've tried to do is really keep consistent brand messaging and communications efforts via email or SMS, etc. But always thinking about providing value. So whether it's we're sending an email for mass near or whether we're thinking about a Father's Day email or whether we're thinking about new product launches, all those pieces provide different sorts of value to the end consumer. And they allow us to kind of be top of mind for our current consumer base around. "Hey, I'm actually running out of face wash" like that's the nudge I needed, a reminder e-mail that I needed to then go and purchase more. So it's definitely a fine line, I think, It's an area of opportunity for us to constantly get better around. But we have one of our teammates who's really, really good on that front. He's done a magnificent job and starting for us. And it's always a moving target, right? You're never going to be perfect. But how how better can you continue to engage with your base in a very relatable, authentic manner that doesn't feel like we're just pushing you with deals or pushing you with product reminder emails because you can only look at a body washing or something else. 

Harvey [00:29:15] Great point. I guess putting yourself in the consumer's shoes. But, yeah, that makes complete sense. And following on from your current product doesn't sell product stock like a like a text proliferation front. How do you see. How do you see that moving forward in the next, say, one to two years, the expansion there, do you look at it in more of terms of we need to be where our customer is. So that might be offline maybe more traditional retail, or is that different areas within that consumer's life is more a focus where actually, you know, your consumer is doing X, Y and Z as well as using the face wash Huron. 

Matt [00:29:55] Yeah, a little bit of a multi-dimensional question and approach there for sure. I think for us and I think you hit the nail on the head. In this category, in particular, being offline matters. Such an element of brand discovery is still at wholesale channels like people shop for this category in retail. So I think for us, it's discovering who is the right partner or set of partners, rather, to kind of make a little bit of a retail presence. Right. And understanding, whereas our consumer, where would he or she expect us to be and maybe where would they not expect us to be but they're pleasantly surprised that we're there. Right. So we're constantly evaluating that landscape. And we have some, some interesting news kind of come in the pipeline on that front. And then I think from from an assortment standpoint, you know, there's really two ways to think about this question. Kind of the table stakes, like cliche answer is like we want to own the bathroom. I think I said that differently and like a little bit more like a Huron voice, which is we want to conceivably have an answer for any question that this guy might ask in front of a mirror. Right. So is it fixit products? Is it a whole new category? Is it products that he may not even know that he wants yet? So I think those are oftentimes developed in tandem with your community. And I think we've gotten tons of feedback around, hey, I would love X product from you guys because I love the smell of the body wash. And if that was in this, I'd be a lifetime subscriber. So just understanding and channeling, you know, not only what we feel like would make sense from an assortment standpoint, but what do our consumers not only want, but expect from us as well, knowing that, you know, sometimes a developed timelines in this category can be a bit longer than most. But we also have an extremely high bar for our product quality, whereas we're not going to launch something into the market that we're not obsessed about because we're doing you, the consumer, a disservice then, because if we wouldn't use these products every day, how can we expect you to do that? 

Harvey [00:31:53] Yeah, 100%, and I guess like you touched on previously. It's very much a balance, like you could go off to all of these avenues, but and they might make sense but actually, for that consumer, it's not going to enter into their plans for ever reason. But interesting that you're looking at kind of both avenues there and how that broke out and gone away from the traditional. We would like to own the bathroom statement, which we've heard many time. So like taking it kind of fully back now over the last couple of years now, you've been building Huron what is the one key lesson that looking back you would take and kind of give yourself back then. I know there'll be a ton and entrepreneurship is never really like this linear journey. But what would be the most important thing there for you? 

Matt [00:32:43] Yeah. Good question. I mean, I think going along the lines of being someone who is rather risk adverse, you know, I'd probably tell myself to get out of my own way. I am decisively indecisive. As you know, that has been a struggle at times because, you know, at some at some point you just have to using the Zuckerberg terminology, you just have to move fast and break things. Now, that's not always applicable in everyday Day-To-Day life, and it's different when you're dealing with the CPG brand versus a tech company. But that being said, the importance of testing is to learn quickly. And while we stress and strain and discuss the minutia to a degree that you probably would not believe. Well, I do think a lot of that stuff is important. There are elements looking back kind of in the rearview mirror over the past 12, 18 months, where I'd be like, shut your own way. And oddly enough, I've been tracking a mistake's bible in a Google sheet that I created for myself where you. Kind of my perspective on those is you do something once that you would do differently. It's a learning, right. If you do that same thing twice then it's kind of a mistake. So if we can accumulate learnings and avoid mistakes, I think we're moving in the right direction. 

Harvey [00:33:59] 100% and I think it's too often looked like a mistake. It's a negative thing. Actually it's, it's very much kind of an element for change. And now that you are a company very much rooted in the DTC sphere if you are interviewing someone or could really take the learnings from someone, you are a kind of ideal person. Who would they be and what? . 

Matt [00:34:26] It's certainly a thought provoking question. I mean, I'm kind of scared of the answer a little bit, but hopefully it makes sense. You know, I think one of the things that we've seen, especially in the DTC. space over the last three to six months, is kind of the nature or mentality around scaling and trajectory and speed change a bit. Whereas, you know, eighteen, twenty four, thirty six months ago it was all we care about is top line. And how quickly can you get to that number. Whereas I think the tenor has changed a little bit. Say yes, we want to see that topline number grow. But it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if you're profitable either. And I think one of our goals when we set out from really early stage was day zero was how can we all must cross the chasm from being an explosive brand to being a sustainable business? Because I think at the end of the day, like that will never lose its place at the table. Right. Which is like if you can generate a lot of top line revenue, but then fuel your own growth with the money that you're creating, like you're in the driver's seat. And I think we think a lot about dollars that go out of our pockets. Right. What are we spending money on? Are we getting the return on ads and are we getting the ROI from all of those relationships? Because that's incredibly important. And if we're not, then we make changes quickly, because I think to get to that point, especially within this category where margin structures are quite in our favor, we should be at that point. So, you know, that's again, it's a little bit skirting the answer. But I think being able to combine a few folks in the room who have built businesses and brands organically where they have bootstrapped or they have used interesting growth hacks to get to a profitable, sustainable level. I think we can learn a lot from those people. 

Harvey [00:36:11] Yeah, and I totally agree. I think we're seeing that glass ceiling now sort of crack or really kind of smash in the way that it's this kind of raise, raise, raise mentality, grow, grow, grow. And actually we're now seeing the issues over the last five years. I think it is a ton of value from a few specific guys that I would I would mention. But yeah, from the guys that have kind of built in the shadows a bit more and have extremely stable businesses that, like you said, always have a seat at the table. And then to wrap up completely where it's best for our listeners to both find yourself and Huron online?

Matt [00:36:54] Yeah, pretty easy on both fronts. You can find us at usehuron.com and @usehuron on social. So, you know, I've been the beneficiary of so much help from so many different people. So I try and respond to everyone who writes and sends LinkedIn messages, the whole nine. I can't promise but I also realize that, you know, we're a three man band, but we're far from a three person army. Right. So there's been a lot of help along the way. And I think the best thing that we could do to show our appreciation for that is, you know, kind of pass things forward. So, you know, any questions, any thoughts? You know, I'm happy to help.

Harvey [00:37:35] It's been chatting to you. Super interesting story. And I look forward to seeing how that grows over the next few years. Thank you for your time. 

Matt [00:37:42] Thanks so much. Appreciate it.