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Freshades: It's Not Your Product, It's The Culture That Surrounds Your Company - with Todd Schweber

How many times have you purchased a nice pair of Ray-Ban’s only to lose them at a tailgate, music festival or party. Enter Freshades, the web-based subscription sunglasses & lifestyle company who will send you a new pair each month for only $9.

Todd and Freshades have been major supporters of WhiteRaverRafting since we launched last September. Even though we’ve run multiple promotions and stay in regular communication, we’ve never actually met in real life. Today – that’s pretty normal.

Biggest takeaway: Your business model is not your brand. Your brand is larger than the products you offer and you need to channel it to separate yourself from the competition.

Interview with Todd Schweber of Freshades.

Introduce yourself. Give me a little background information and what you’re currently doing.

Todd Schweber, lover of planting seeds and growing…

What is Freshades and where did the idea come from?

Freshades is is an international lifestyle subscription service that provides its members random, new and unique sunglasses, to love and own forever. Each month our subscription offers all Freshmakers the most up to date and trending new eye-ware from around the world.

There are many low priced sunglass options, how do you serve the market place differently?

We aren’t in the sunglass business. We are in the lifestyle business. We fit that part of people that, in the words of one of our subscribers, “embraces the fresh.” Freshades isn’t here to replace your favorite pair of shades. We’re here to compliment your desire to be pleasantly surprised…with shades, haha.

What methods did you use to start going after suppliers? Can you explain a little bit about your research?

We have done a ton of sourcing on the web as well as pooling personal contacts all over the world. It can be tough navigating foreign markets without eyes and ears on the ground so having agents/ buyers located in markets of interest is always helpful.

What are some promotional methods that you use to market your business? Most effective? Least effective?

We have marketed Freshades in a number of ways, some more effective than others. Pull campaigns on Google, push advertising on Facebook, partnerships with some great blogs like WhiteRaverRafting, gorilla street teams, stickers contests and events. I think our most effective and most rewarding is naming a pair of Freshades after an up and coming artist/musician/producer.

When we partner with these individuals we are not only able to introduce their work to our audience but Freshades is promoted to their close networks, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, etc. Least effective I would say are push campaigns.

As an entrepreneur can you describe your business style? How has Freshades changed your opinion?

Everything that I do personally and in business is based on reciprocity. It’s the only way to operate. Freshades hasn’t really changed that mindset, but it has allowed me to get creative within the industries I find most interesting and work with some of the youngest and brightest people out there.

You entered a crowded market with a different strategy, what advice do you have for others who are considering entering the products space with many different competitors?

Have a plan. Not just building a site and having a social media strategy. You need more, much more right now to separate yourself. I love strategic partnerships that add to the value of our members total experience.

It’s not just about sunglasses or whatever your product but it’s the culture that surrounds your company.

Think Harley Davidson and how their brand is almost a religion. People tattoo their name on their bodies for God’s sake! Hahahaha!

I think it’s impossible for entrepreneurs to only work on one project. Most of us go 80/20 principle where we spend 80% on the main proejct and 20% on the rest. What else can we expect from Todd Schweber?

That’s a tough call. I love Freshades but like you said, its tough to just work on one thing. I think its important to learn from everything I do and all the mistakes I make. There are a ton of exciting start up’s popping up everyday and I have no problem jumping on board with a company that I’m not a founder of and have complete buy in for.

One thing I have learned in working on Freshades is how important having technical and writing skills are. Being able to create awesome content that people want is not easy but the publishing industry is exciting to me. I would love to move in that direction at some point.

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I make money online through websites and business consulting. Everyday I'm challenging myself to learn and do more.

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