Side Hustle City

The Art and Science Behind Making Money in Promotional Products with Hildee Isaacs

August 10, 2023 Adam Koehler & Kyle Stevie with Hildee Isaacs Season 4 Episode 37
Side Hustle City
The Art and Science Behind Making Money in Promotional Products with Hildee Isaacs
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Discover the world of side hustles turned main hustles as we sit down with Hildee Isaacs, a fearless entrepreneur who took the leap from various traditional industries to the burgeoning world of promotional products. Hildee's journey, marked by resilience and grit, will have you on the edge of your seat as she recounts her experiences from the glitz of the film world, the cut-throat garment sector, to the unpredictable restaurant business, and finally, her triumphant rise in the embroidery and promo industry. Ever thought about the science behind a good logo design or the art of choosing the right t-shirt? Hildee's got you covered.

Dive into an educational journey through the promotional products industry, an overlooked multi-billion-dollar sector! With Hildee's unique insights, we explore how she leverages her Film School background to create engaging and informative content about the promotional products industry. We also delve into the intricacies of corporate America and the world of graphic design, where Hildee shares her expertise on adapting designs to meet diverse company needs and emphasizes the elegance of simplicity in logo design. The conversation also uncovers the secrets behind the different levels of quality in t-shirts and the factors to consider when choosing the right shirt based on price and quality.

As we wrap up our insightful chat with Hildee, we explore the importance of learning and mentoring in this dynamic industry. Hildee discusses her YouTube channel, a treasure trove of educational content about the promotional products industry, and offers tips on how to find mentors and clients in the corporate sector. Be inspired by Hildee's journey of transforming her side hustle into a full-time career and her dedication to helping others do the same. So, whether you're a side hustler or looking for new business ideas, this episode is a goldmine of practical tips, valuable insights, and inspiration!

Reach out to Hildee:

As you're inspired to embark on your own side hustle journey after listening to this episode, you might wonder where to start or how to make your vision a reality. That's where our trusted partner, Reversed Out Creative comes in.

Specializing in strategic branding and digital marketing, Reversed Out Creative is an advertising agency dedicated to helping you turn your side hustle into your main hustle. With a team of experienced professionals and a track record of helping clients achieve their dreams, they are ready to assist you in reaching your goals.

To find out more about how they can elevate your side hustle, visit www.reversedout.com today and start your journey towards success. Our

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Speaker 2:

Welcome to Side Hustle City and thanks for joining us. Our goal is to help you connect to real people who found success turning their side hustle into a main hustle, and we hope you can too. I'm Adam Kaler. I'm joined by Kyle Stevey, my co-host. Let's get started, all right? Welcome back everybody to the Side Hustle City podcast. Guys, believe it or not, kyle Stevey is over here on my right hand side once again. Yeah, I stopped quitting. I figured I'd make a comeback. Kyle's been busy. I mean, you got the spring, the summer, you got kids, you got responsibilities. They come with that, you know. So it's hard to get. It's hard to leave work and come here at four o'clock or three o'clock even. Sometimes our podcasts are at three o'clock and do things when you got those kind of….

Speaker 3:

Well, now I'm Rex Ryan of the Northern Kentucky Middle School Football League. I'm like the greatest defensive coordinator of the world's ever seen. But I can't be a head coach so I can't make all the practices, so I'm just helping out with like linemen, because I don't know anything about offensive line.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, you're here, kyle, and unfortunately Monica Tuck is not here, but she sent us another guest, hilda Isaacs. What's up, hilda?

Speaker 4:

Hello, Monica and I are BFFs.

Speaker 2:

Oh, are you guys both in that same leadership?

Speaker 4:

Trugatic community yes.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, there you go. Business addicts yes, business addicts anonymous. Well, that's awesome. So you've got your own…. And guys, today, if you ever wanted to know, I know a lot of people. They're trying to build their side hustle. They're trying to turn that into a main hustle. Well, Hilda has already done that. And then, at the same time, she creates products that help you promote the business that you have. So her side hustle turned into a full-time hustle, which helps other side hustlers. Right, Hilda, Absolutely I love it. I love it. What got you into this? We talked a little bit before the episode started and you said this wasn't your thing, this wasn't what you were planning on doing, but this is where you ended up.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, so I mean, it's a great story. I grew up in New York and I went to NYU Film School and I was going to be a film producer. So I graduated and I got three great jobs in the industry in Manhattan and each time the assistant director said fuck me or you're fired. What? So I left the industry. Oh, come on, this was before Anita Hill.

Speaker 2:

This was before Harvey Weinstein. This is like… Way before. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 4:

So after that happened three times, I thought there was something wrong with me. I wasn't made for this industry.

Speaker 3:

Apparently, there wasn't anything wrong with you if you're getting all those types of prepositions.

Speaker 2:

I know, yeah, exactly yeah, yeah, I barely got something going right for you actually. I had something going right, but not what I wanted.

Speaker 4:

So then I went into the garment industry in Manhattan and I always waited tables and bartended and hostess and loved the restaurant business and then eventually I said, all right, it's New York, new Yorkers are too mean for me. So I drove down to Atlanta and I decided… I think someone had told me there was this vegan hippie who was trying to sell his side hustle for 500 bucks. So I met with him and he said, yeah, here, just give me 500 bucks, you can have my route, my recipes, my refrigerator, my freezer, whoa. And I said, okay, and he was a vegan and he had all these recipes and what he would do. And the route he showed me was he would go into offices and hair salons people who couldn't get out for lunch because that's when they made their money, so thanks to stockbrokers and people in the beauty industry and so he would wake up in the morning, make soup, salad, sandwiches, and he would go door to door and do it.

Speaker 4:

And I started that way. Business was called Secret Garden Gourmet. I ended up opening a restaurant here in Atlanta, in Alpharetta, called Secret Garden Gourmet. I lasted nine months. I lost $100,000 because no one gave a shit about healthy food, because it was all healthy food 23 years ago in Alpharetta If it wasn't a steak and a potato covered in lard they weren't interested.

Speaker 2:

Especially in the south. You're in the land of butter. You're not far from Savannah, like for God's sake no right, you're in a hot bed of diabetes.

Speaker 4:

So once yeah, it lasted nine months. And once it closed, the chick who sold me my embroidered apron said come, I'll teach you the business and you work for me. So I started working for her and then I worked on the vendor side working for an American made cat manufacturer. So I know everything there is to know about the baseball hat you're wearing, like everything. I can talk dirty to you in hat language. And then I ended up not getting along with her.

Speaker 4:

When I was working for the vendor, I took my territory from $10,000 a year to $1 million a year and they never gave me a raise. So I just picked a company based in Howell, michigan, who was one of my clients and I said let me work for you. And he said OK, and I worked for him for a little while. And then a medium size of brown and bigelow, which I'm sure you've never heard of, and now Geiger is the largest privately owned promo company in the world. They now have a huge UK influence and we're the only ones that are. I think we're completely carbon neutral. I know our corporate office is all solar powered. It's just cool shit. It's a great company to work for, but it means every dollar I make. I split with them 50-50. And I'm OK with that because last year I did $1.4 million in sales, a year before I did $1.2 million in sales. So my side hustle is definitely my main hustle now.

Speaker 2:

Wow, Well, two. Ok. So two episodes ago we had a group on here called Aviatra, which is a women's business group, and it teaches women how to get their businesses off the ground and teaches them how to make money, et cetera, et cetera. And one of the data points that came up there was there's only 3% of women owned businesses and I guess you would consider yourself a women owned business that get over $1 million in revenue only 3%. And she said sometimes it's got to do with the types of businesses they go in. A lot of times they're the caretaker at the house with the kids and things like that. So they don't want to build a scalable growth business, they're just looking for something to supplement any income that's coming in the house. They want to do something where they can be flexible, things like that. So congratulations, You're part of maybe even the 2%.

Speaker 3:

Was that revenue or profit?

Speaker 2:

Sales, sales and that's it Like $1 million in sales. That's the thing which is wild to me that it's only 3%, but you know.

Speaker 3:

I don't know if there have been top 3% in anything.

Speaker 2:

Our podcast is top 5% in the world. It's not top 3. Yeah, we need to step it up. We need another 1,000 people a month or something, or whatever in the world it is. So that's crazy the way things work out, though. You just never know the way life's going to take you, and I even tell the young people I'll go talk at the schools and stuff and I'll say you know, whatever you think you want to be now, it's probably not what you're going to be in 20 years, it's you know. You're going to go to school for something and things are just going to happen and you're going to end up doing something you didn't know you were even going to do.

Speaker 3:

You're going to get an indecent proposal? Yeah, now, you can make a lot of money off of that. Yeah, actually that could have been your side hustle, especially if you get three of those you get three of them.

Speaker 2:

You're really rocking it out, man.

Speaker 3:

That's like $30 million in lawsuits right there.

Speaker 2:

No matter of fact, when I was a kid, I wanted to be a producer.

Speaker 2:

You got indecent proposals too. No, I didn't get any on these proposals, no way. But but, but look, but. I wanted to be a movie producer because I was big into Steven Spielberg so I loved. You know, the first movie I ever think I actually remember going to see was ET. So you know that was. That was like a big thing for me. I was like, oh, steven Spielberg, what does he do? And my mom is a movie producer and you don't know when you're a kid what's all out there. You know you're a kid, you just like you want to be a fire person, you want to be a police, you want to be the things that you know about, right. But the older you get, the more opportunities that come across. Your play very similar to what happened to you, right?

Speaker 4:

Yep, and, honestly, best thing that ever happened to me, because had the restaurant worked out I can't even talk about the film thing because that definitely was never going to work out, not back then but had the restaurant worked out, then I would have been locked, landlocked, city locked, and that was it. That was it. Once you own a restaurant, you you have no life. But now the life I have because I'm 100% commission is I was able this summer to go to Italy for a month. Who does that? I don't know multi millionaires who do that. Did I have to work every day? I did have to work a couple hours every day, but who cares? I was in Italy.

Speaker 2:

That's right. Well, I'll tell you how you do it. You do it the way me and my wife did it. So for my 40th birthday, we did that. We went to Italy for a month and we, you know, traveled on the trains and things like that. We rented our house out on Airbnb to a group of contractors from Chicago that their boss didn't want to pay for individual hotel rooms, so they, they, they rented our house out 4,500 bucks we got for this house. Our trip was 5,000 bucks and I'll tell you if you ever go back out of town tripmasterscom it's like my favorite, because you get to do multi city and they will tell you exactly where you're supposed, what train you're supposed to be on everything.

Speaker 2:

And it came in handy because when we were leaving Naples we had to go down to I think San Giamani is what it's called. The train split in half and both sides went onto a boat and it floated over to Sicily. We were on a train, on a boat. That's so cool. And if we would have been on the wrong train, the wrong split, right, we would have been in Palermo instead of Syracusa. So it's still not bad. I mean it would have been fine. Yeah, it would have been fine, we would have figured it out right. But you know first world problems. But yeah, that's how you do it yeah.

Speaker 2:

If you're gonna, if you're gonna go for a month. But the thing is is do you have time freedom? Do you have freedom from your job to be able to go somewhere for an entire month? No, but that's the thing. You don't have to be a multimillionaire to do it, you just have to have time freedom to be able to do that, and it sounds like that's what you have now.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I just bring my laptop with me and I'm good. I'm good, I love it. I came home and it wasn't a million emails. You know everybody complains when they get home from vacation. They need a vacation. And A I I slow Cation and B I kept up with everything. So when I got back I was good.

Speaker 2:

The best part about Europe, too, is it's ahead, so you can get up in the morning, you get up at noon and you're still ahead.

Speaker 3:

It depends on how I had you. I was in Bali and that's 13 hours ahead, and that meant that I had to wake up like two o'clock in the morning to check in with everybody at the office, like everything going, are we all right?

Speaker 3:

And then I would go back to sleep like 45, because my team was good, so we were fine, we went at a good time of year. But the fact that matter is that your sleep is just completely jacked every night that you're on this trip because you got to wake up early like 2, 30, make a phone call, go back to sleep.

Speaker 2:

Well, if you go to Portugal, believe it or not, I think Portugal is the most, is the closest country in Europe, even counting Iceland, to the United States. I believe it, yeah, and it's only what? Is it five hours? I think it's five hours if you're on the West Coast of Portugal. So I mean, it's, it's ahead, but it's not that much ahead. So it's almost like you wake up at 10, 11 o'clock, start, you got three, four hours. You got two or three hours with the work you can knock out.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, before people bother. I used to think it was like Christmas come early when the time would change. But I was in college in Indiana. They didn't do the daily savings, so all the Cincinnati stations were an hour ahead, so we got to see every like the football games were over at 10 o'clock instead of like 11, 11, 30. Oh yeah, or we could have two hours of Seinfeld and two hours it was awesome.

Speaker 2:

That's good.

Speaker 3:

That's a good way to look at it Both did Seinfeld Jeopardy at seven o'clock. Yeah, there you go. I was really good at Jeopardy the second time.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, I don't go to sleep. I think I went to bed last night at five o'clock, four o'clock, woke up at nine o'clock. It's like every night. Dude, I can't. I can't do it. I can't sleep your sleep. Did I get into these YouTube things? I go down the rabbit hole next thing, you know whatever, but it's mostly around side hustles. Hildy, this is like what I do. I just like think of like all the cool stuff and then we get lucky enough to have people like you on, who you know you can.

Speaker 3:

He's actually done it.

Speaker 2:

You're actually well, you've actually done it, but you're also doing it in a way that doesn't require you to physically be anywhere, which I think a lot of people are interested in. And I mean, maybe you could talk a little bit about why you've chose this, how long ago it was like, what you like about it, and is there a way for other people to do something?

Speaker 3:

similar. I had about 700,000 reasons to like it. I know already yeah.

Speaker 4:

So here's the deal. I I realized probably 10 years ago, but it took me until January of this year to finally just take my NYU film school background and decide that if there was somebody who's going to educate the world in my industry, which is a multi-billion-dollar-year industry that nobody knows about, it was going to be up to me. So since January, I have posted a one-minute educational video about my industry every single day on LinkedIn, youtube, instagram, tiktok and Facebook. Every single day, and one of the people I have a six-minute up that I just put on LinkedIn because nobody else is going to watch a six-minute.

Speaker 4:

But I ask everybody in my industry what's the one thing you wish people knew about our industry? And the best was my friend Stanton. He said that he went to college and got a degree in marketing. Not one hint that our industry exists. So I'm baffled and fascinated, because anybody who's in marketing would love my industry, anybody who's into creativity would love my industry and anybody who loves sales would love my industry, and I'm gifted in those three. Don't give me a spreadsheet, don't make me do math, because I'm allergic to both, but if you keep me in the sales and marketing and creativity realm, boy, oh boy, gangbusters, fireworks, and I will entertain you and have you fall in love with me forever.

Speaker 3:

Okay, I'm sold. What the hell do you do? Like literally what do you do? So? How did you get started? Like what happened so?

Speaker 4:

I got started because Rose.

Speaker 4:

Stransky and I became friends when she came into my restaurant to sell me a couple of embroidered aprons and when the restaurant went out she said I'm going to teach you the business. And she did. But there is no education about our business, so someone actually has to take you under their wing and teach it to you. And there's excuse me, there's swag. So it's the simple things the stickers on the back of your laptop that everybody can see. It's the t-shirt you're wearing, it's the embroidered hat.

Speaker 4:

It could be that someone decided they wanted, they wanted you front and center. They wanted to be front and center every time you're podcasting. So they sent you a pair of headphones and on the left ear was their logo. Or on the mic stand, they sent you a decal that you could put on the on the mic stand. That fits perfectly that people can see while they're on air. Those, anything like that is considered. I call it swag, you can call it swag, you can call it chotchkies, you can call it trinkets and trash promotional products. Add specialties the flags behind me, the calendar, awards, lip balm I've seen people if you see a wrapped car. Well, that's not something I specialize in. That's considered a promotional product Anything, you see a logo on anything.

Speaker 2:

Well, it's like death and taxes, right, everybody needs it. The crazy thing is so, you know, I just got my real estate license and I go to one of these big swag everywhere, right, and I mean we did a software company every time we went to a conference. Swag everywhere. I still have my C prop pins. You got C prop pins, yeah, I mean you got. Every time a new company starts up. They need to go to conferences more swag. Real estate agent starts up. Real estate agents hand out what Business cards. They hand out pens, they hand out notepads, they hand out all these little calendars on the fridge magnets. It's like all these people, it's like nonstop business.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so it's, that's great, but how do you so? How did you get with Geiger? No, not get with Geiger. How did you?

Speaker 4:

he wants to know how I started out and how to get to one point. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 3:

So yeah, so you, basically you got in, you have this.

Speaker 4:

I got in You've got this great.

Speaker 3:

You've got this marketing gene, you've got the sales gene. I do, I do.

Speaker 4:

So in the beginning I would go to these trade shows where the vendors would give away samples with random imprints on it and I would collect as much as I could. And then I would go home, I would make little gift bags and I would find an office building and of course it always said no soliciting, which made me nervous. But I would run up to the receptionist and I'd say I'm not soliciting, this is for you and here's an extra one for anybody in the office. And I did that. That's how I first got my foot in the door, little literally. And then when I worked for this guy out of Howell, michigan, he paid for a bunch of us to go to the World of Concrete Show in Vegas and walk the show floor. And it's gotten to the point where I can look at a logo and know whether it's going to embroider well or not. And if I can tell it's not going to embroider well, then I won't even go into the booth because I'm just setting myself up for failure. And that happens little by little and I started building my confidence. And once my confidence was up and even my assistant said she's worked for 20 or 50 Hildes but she's never seen anybody as good as me, my attention to detail, my uniqueness, my boldness, like I won't let my clients get screwed over by a vendor. But I also won't let my clients screw us over, like if they're being inappropriate, I'll hold them accountable. So at this point I no longer take orders under $500 because I can't afford to. In addition, it's usually, I say, 25 employees or more, so there's a lot of companies I won't serve.

Speaker 4:

So if somebody wanted to get into the business, I would say go for the small and I don't go for the sexy. Like I would never go after a Coca-Cola or a UPS. Someone gave me a referral, great, but I'm not going after sexy. I want to go after those accounts and most of my accounts spend at least $100,000 a year with me. But I go after the accounts that no one's ever heard of, no one cares about, no one, so there's no competition and then, before they realize it, they're in love with me. There's the loyalty. I send samples all the time. I bake chocolate chip, banana bread, send it all the time. I'm posting every day. I just I do things that no one else's not no one, but very few people. And even though I'm pretty successful, I still am networking. I'm still hustling because, in my opinion, the day you stop hustling is a day you drop dead.

Speaker 3:

So there's so in the 2080 principle, what is, uh, what's the top like product that you? You said embroidered, so are you are you giving, are you sending like embroidered, like t-shirts, like polos or towels, or what are you?

Speaker 4:

Sometimes so. So currently I'm very anti embroidery. I feel like it's something grandpa wears, or or maybe they're still wearing on the golf course Although if you look at the next time there's a golf tournament on, you'll see mostly everything is this which is a heat transfer. It's just a cleaner, more modern look. If you look at a Puma shirt or an underarmor shirt, no one's embroidering anymore. They're doing heat transfers. But um, it depends. Like if it's a good, I'll do, I'll run a Dunn and Brad street, I'll run, I'll get her credit check and if they're credit worthy, they pay their bills. They got a good credit limit with my company. Then yeah, I don't mind paying for a hundred dollar jacket with somebody in somebody's colors with their logo on it. I wouldn't blink twice and my vendors won't. My vendors will usually be like no, we'll give it to you for free, cause they know if a hill, if an order comes from me, it's going to be 10,000 or more to them.

Speaker 2:

I get three calls a day from Dunn and Brad. I'll tell you one more thing.

Speaker 4:

I know you're thinking trade shows, but really the smarter companies, they're making sure when they hire someone they're not just giving them the employment packet, they're giving them something that makes them feel like they're part of a team, cause it's so expensive to get somebody up and running, so they call that an onboarding gift. So it's the hat, it's the shirt, it's the coffee mug, the notebook, the pen. Onboarding gifts are just as successful, like literally as well as for me. Hr is just as good for me as the chief marketing officers in the marketing department, especially in this recession, people inflation is going up.

Speaker 2:

People need free clothes right now. Like you get somebody's up for free, oh my God, thank you this one. It cost me $30. If it's free, it's for me. Yeah, it's free.

Speaker 2:

It's for me but no, no, that's a really good insight and I bet there's a lot of things that you know about that most people don't know about corporate America before it happens, like when it comes to marketing, like there's insights that you hear about that most people don't know. I mean even the embroidery thing. Right, like I designed logos Like this is what I do. I've designed probably I don't know 500 logos and are probably more than that Shoot. But every time you do one, you know everybody wants a freaking illustri like a detailed illustration they send you oh, my kid did this cartoon and crayon and can you turn this into a logo? No, sorry, this is like a full blown illustration.

Speaker 2:

No, you need simple. You need Apple, you need Apple, you need, you know, that level of simplicity so that it can transfer. I said can you cut it out of a piece of metal, like if you had a sign and you pushed it, popped it out of a piece of metal. Does that work still? No, it doesn't. Okay, well then, it's not a logo, you know. So it has to be that level of simplicity, that's actually a really good idea.

Speaker 3:

I've never heard that before. I mean not a good idea, but good analogy.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I had insight. Yeah, I've had to put I had to tell people about all the time so, and I've actually had to do that.

Speaker 3:

Like there's. You had to do it on metal.

Speaker 2:

We had to make a logo that yeah, that turns it that you got to pop out of metal, so it's yeah. If you can't do it, then it just doesn't work, right? I mean, you never know where your logo is going to go and how it's going to be used. That's the thing.

Speaker 4:

Right, and I beg graphic artists, ask a promo person when, before you present the final final to the client, send it and say will this embroider? Because it's not your job to know, it's my job to know and I can tell you right now Times New Roman font fuck you?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, exactly, people love. What is the deal with people still using that? It's not even like like cool because it's old. Like you know, sometimes people will use comic sans, because it's ironic to use comic sans or whatever, but it's never a good idea to use Times New Roman Like at all.

Speaker 3:

I use it all the time.

Speaker 2:

Don't do it, maybe in a business letter, a business letter in Microsoft Word. Do it there, but like, but the crazy thing is is now you got all these designers throwing gradients and everything. Everything's got a freaking gradient on it and it's like, dude, how did what?

Speaker 3:

does that?

Speaker 2:

mean, yeah, and then they want to be a pain in the butt about it. Like, oh, I'm such a great designer, like this has to be like this, it has to look like this. And it's like you know, as a designer, someone who, like worked in digital ad agencies where you have to work with developers, and these designers are like pushing their thing. It's just like the greatest thing they've ever done in the world. It's like dude, the developer can't produce that. Like they can't read, it's not going to happen, man, like just get over it. And but they are dead set on it, like it's got to look just like this, you know. And they end up making people like you, you're life miserable.

Speaker 3:

That was a great rant, but what is this? What is it? What is it? What is it? It's true. What's a gradient?

Speaker 2:

A gradient is like when something will go from, say, like dark blue to light blue, and it's a fade, it's almost like a sunset, right. I got you, so people put that in their logos now.

Speaker 3:

Softball jerseys and soccer jerseys. And.

Speaker 2:

Oh, they'll do crazy gradients too, Like you can use a gradient mesh and you can inside of a logo and you can make it like go from like five different colors and they all blend together Absolutely no way.

Speaker 3:

It's like not repeatable at all.

Speaker 2:

That's yeah, it's like a piece.

Speaker 3:

No, it is.

Speaker 4:

It is. It's just it's expensive. It cuts down on if you want to do something in it. You know it's, it's a pain in the ass, but most times graphic designers you do a gradient, they'll do a one color option. Yeah, but then it's not the logo anymore.

Speaker 2:

So if that's, if that's what the client fell in love with, they're going to wonder on everything that everybody can have a flying piggy bank.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, exactly Well, and plus a lot of times too, just because it looks good on the screen doesn't mean the inks are going to blend well together, so you've got those problems on top of it. So, yeah, there's all kinds of stuff that I come from the print world. I'm that old, so I remember those days when, like you, had to like think of these things. Yeah, some people don't, you know, or they go from a pantone to a four color thing because they forgot to like switch their pantone color and their palette over to a four color, and it's, you can't blend a pantone into a four color thing. But anyway, long story short, some people know what I'm talking about, but 99% of people listen to this have no clue what I'm saying. No clue.

Speaker 3:

At least they know what a gradient is.

Speaker 2:

They know what a gradient is now. Yeah, so what is Geiger like? What made you want to go with Geiger? I mean, you mentioned, you said you love them, you like what they do. Is this a? Is this like a franchise? Like, how does this work?

Speaker 4:

Nope, so I'm a 1099. And so not even I guess you call it a contractor, and most of the companies in my industry the top ones they they have you sign a contract but if you choose to leave, you take your clients with you, which is very unusual in sales. Usually the clients stay with the company, but that's not how it is, because nobody's buying from Geiger, they're buying from Hildi or my colleagues, and I chose Geiger. When I was ready to leave Brandon Bigelow, I had eight companies fighting over me and I interviewed all eight. I knew what I was looking for.

Speaker 4:

Honestly, the last company I worked for I didn't feel like they treated their hourly employees well and those are the people processing my orders, so they weren't doing a good job because they weren't happy. So that was my number one priority of picking a new place. So Geiger flew me to Lewiston, maine. I got to see how they're treat their employees and at the time it was before they built their state of the art, 100 percent solar building. But at the top of every hour they rang a bell and sang a song and everybody was supposed to stand up from their desk and stretch and do like a couple of minutes of exercise and I thought that is the bee's knees. And then I saw the lunch room and I saw they had an exercise room and they just I could tell that this was a place who was putting health and and and I don't know positive energy instead of make me money, make me money and that's all that. Plus. At the time my manager, who's since retired, was the best cheerleader, like she's just wonderful.

Speaker 3:

Are they making the textiles there too?

Speaker 4:

So we're middlemen. Ok, most of the time we are middlemen, meaning I have probably 10,000 vendors to choose from. Geiger tries to get preferred vendors. So we've got a huge marketing team in Maine and they vet the vendors and they vet the screen printers and the embroiderers and anybody who wants to do overseas and they narrow it down for us. And then most of the time we're really kind of pushed to either do our preferred or ones that they know aren't going to take our orders and never either give the goods or, if the goods come bad, they're not going to stand behind them. And what happens is sometimes we do have to.

Speaker 4:

In Lewiston now we have a huge warehouse. So, for example, if if one of my, one of my clients, houses all their stuff and we've built them a website for free, because anything we can do to make more sales makes sense, so they'll go on their website, they'll order a polo shirt, a t-shirt, a pen and a hat. So the pen and the hat are probably sitting on a shelf with their logo on it, ready to go, but the polo shirt we don't. We do to order. So we've got embroidery heads on the premises and and I do believe we now have, maybe we don't have screen printing yet, but otherwise we've got plenty of sources that will do one offs Again, I don't like doing orders like that, but if it's going through the web store I don't even touch it.

Speaker 4:

It's what do you call it? Passive income for me, and that's the thing. So when today somebody sent me a picture of a pen with a stylus on the tip and she said, can you get me something like this? So I have 100,000 pens to pick from and I've got my own search engine. I've got my own vendors that I love. I do a quick search and I'm not going to send her 10,000. I'm going to send her one or two, because nobody wants that many choices and so I get to spend people's money all day honestly which is fun, and then I keep you from spending money like you're like ah, I got to know you still spend money.

Speaker 2:

Ok, well, you're doing over a million a year, so you're probably, yeah, you could, you could do that. Most people listen to this or like, yeah, I wish I could spend other people's money because it would get rid of that, that desire to spend my own money. Maybe, but I don't know, it's pretty nerve wracking.

Speaker 4:

If you knew what it took to get that t-shirt that you're wearing, like cut back to the t-shirt, like you know nothing. First of all, someone had to call someone like me and say I want, and you'd have to look on the label on the back. I mean, I'm guessing. This is a wild guess. It looks like it could be a comfort colors or an authentic pigment. Let's see how good I am through the camera. Read, read the label on the back here. Oh, the brand.

Speaker 2:

I see.

Speaker 4:

Can you grab it?

Speaker 2:

Next level apparel.

Speaker 4:

Oh, it's next level. Ok, because then the lighting is making it look like it's a pigment dyed shirt. So next level is one of my top favorites. I usually do either next level bellow canvas. Why? Because the if you feel your t-shirt it feels soft like pajamas. Typically, when you're given a freebie, it feels scratchy. Do you know what I'm talking about.

Speaker 2:

Just straight up cotton.

Speaker 4:

No what is that. No, the next level. They're taking the cotton and they're washing out the dirt and they're making it ring spun, whereas a typical cheap t-shirt the dirt is still in the t-shirt and that's why it feels scratchy. Yeah, it's called a commodity t-shirt.

Speaker 3:

And it's cut to fit better Like it's not one of those.

Speaker 4:

Correct, it's, it's, it's tubular. There's no side seams, right, if you look down your your sides, there's no seams there.

Speaker 3:

No, there's seams oh.

Speaker 4:

OK. So they have different levels. Next level has their own next level. Yeah, they're next level. Typically the better quality t-shirts which again next level is is they're washing the cotton, which is why it feels soft, and then they're doing a loom is the next one, which is if you've seen the show, the bear, the guy there is always wearing these beautiful shirts and their $50 white t-shirts and it's because they're done in a different technique. It just looks better, it feels better, it's not as slouchy. True class Like somebody.

Speaker 4:

So the TQL cares. So you. You raised money for something, you did a run for something, right. You were given that t-shirt for free.

Speaker 3:

Yes, no, five bucks, I think. Oh, you had to actually pay for it, maybe, maybe this is one of the free ones we gave it to. I don't know the ones you buy, and these are the same.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but that's just companies promo. So what you're doing, you're saying right now, is they actually did a decent job of printing promo products for their employees.

Speaker 3:

Well, yeah, so that's it I donated, I donated, so I got it. There you go.

Speaker 4:

So you did pay for it. But but it's somehow, it's a fundraiser and so let's say you donated I don't know 50 bucks, so you got like maybe it's a 10.

Speaker 2:

$10.75. Oh, what oh?

Speaker 4:

big spender and I'm going to guess, on the back are all the sponsors, maybe.

Speaker 3:

Not on this shirt, but we had a race shirt. We did a street race or whatever, like an obstacle course through the city, like some urban yeah, urban type race, and we had a bunch of sponsors on the back.

Speaker 4:

So it's, it's basically blue and I can't and again in the camera it's like a violet purple, it's like a lavender kind of oh so the camera is showing nice and it's got like a white imprint and then maybe almost a tone on tone purple.

Speaker 3:

Yep, yep.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. So it's a reasonably inexpensive t-shirt. I would say. Let's say I don't know, probably cost the person who gave it to you no more than $10, unless they got ripped off. And then I don't want to talk about that because you should never rip off nonprofits, but whatever. I can't talk about what my competitors do, but it's a nice t-shirt, it's nice.

Speaker 3:

It's three years old and it's still in decent shape. I'll tell you yeah, I know it looks good, dude.

Speaker 2:

And actually the more it wears out, the better it looks.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 4:

Correct and again same thing with the scratchy t-shirt it's the more you wash it, the more that dirt finally gets out of it. But who want like I beg people, please spend an extra dollar to and don't make me sell you a scratchy t-shirt I'm not using this t-shirt or shit.

Speaker 2:

They're awful. And then what's the deal with every t-shirt being super wide and then shrinking, but not shrinking the wide way, the, the, the length of its shrinks, and then you end up looking like you got a belly shirt on.

Speaker 3:

Buddy, I've been trying to have this conversation with you. I don't know that it's the t-shirt.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, it's commodity teas. That's why, if you go online and just order a t-shirt based on price, you're not going to be happy. If you have a Hildi in your life and I always say and I am, I don't. I don't need all the business. There are plenty of people who do what I do that are probably within five minutes of your office. Find somebody local who's an expert and ask their opinion, even if they say you know, I don't accept orders for under whatever. They should be able to say. You know what? Let's go on one of the websites and I'll help you pick a good t-shirt that you'll be happy with, that you can give out to family reunion or you're all going on a cruise together, whatever it is.

Speaker 3:

If you just need 12 t-shirts, I ever got you ever got us I think it was about 10 years ago went to the soft cotton, this, this type of material. Yeah, Dude, it's been money. Every t-shirt we get to see is like night that lasts for a long time. So they've done a good job.

Speaker 2:

Dude, there's too many when you do this on your own. There's way too many products Like you need a broker because there's just a ridiculous amount of t-shirt vendors. It's too much Like. It's like, like you said, people don't want that many options, they want one or two or three options.

Speaker 3:

I can be the guy that's telling you what's not to get.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, exactly, that shirt hurts, I don't like it Sucks, get it Get this thing off my body. You're like digging into your underarms.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I throw them away. If somebody gives me a t-shirt and I can feel it's scratchy, it goes in the garbage, it's dirty. But I will say there's men's cuts, there's ladies cuts. You can get a scoop neck, you can get a v-neck, you can get sleeveless, you can get long sleeve, it all just depends. And that's just t-shirts and that's just talking. Let's say, next level, bella canvas. Somebody asks me for a lanyard. Holy shit, I got to go. Do you want quarter inch, half inch, three quarter inch, full inch? Do you want dye sublimated? Do you want a one color? Do you want a two color? Do you want it woven? Do you want to build up? Like it's crazy how many products we have to know in our brain so that when one of you says to me are you self-swear for living, looking at my wearing? Not that anybody else could do it, but I could tell you exactly everything about your hat too.

Speaker 2:

I love it. You know what? And the funny thing is I was at my wife owns a spa and she was doing an event yesterday and there was a lady there who worked at a gym that will be nameless, but the owner of this gym. He was a franchisee, I guess. He created swag products to, I guess, try to motivate the employees, but he would put them in like places where you couldn't miss them. It says, are you working hard enough today? And like but it wouldn't be like that Nice, it would be like a Was it like Dick's stuff, no one crunch. But it would be like shitty stuff.

Speaker 2:

It was like toxic crap that he was doing, like you should stay late today, and all kinds of crazy stuff like that. Like, yeah, I don't like that person. Yeah, he was doing it for like, for bad reasons, not for good, for good reasons.

Speaker 4:

I don't like that.

Speaker 2:

But I literally had a conversation yesterday and I can't remember the exact examples that she spent.

Speaker 3:

He spent his own money to get like marketing stuff to to put in the drawers and stuff and people to say mean things to people so that in the hopes that it would motivate them to actually work harder to guilt them.

Speaker 2:

It was like guilt products. It was like he would. He would fill up their desks with stuff and then they'd come in and get in the office or whatever and open up their desk and it'd be a bunch of pens that say you should work later tonight or something you know like just guilt stuff.

Speaker 4:

That's annoying.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I don't like that person Super annoying, but he's like a gym bro, you know. So he's like, he's nice and asshole Gym bros wouldn't do that. Well, that guy's just an asshole. Jim Dush, how about that? Yeah, so, but that's wild. So how do other people get involved in this? I mean, like you know, if anybody's listening, they want to. You know, look for products, or they want to. They want to buy a product. It's Hildi dot com. Right, h I L D E.

Speaker 4:

Well, again, I won't work with just anybody but. If they wanted to learn about the industry. They should follow me on YouTube or LinkedIn or Facebook or Instagram or TikTok and just watch my one minute videos. I post one every single day and it's about another product in my industry, because it's it's overwhelming how many products I'm looking at my desk now I think I have 50.

Speaker 2:

Sorry, I'm watching a video right now. Just popped the video. So if I can't talk right now. Yeah, if I go to your website and I go down on the footer here that YouTube link, that that'll take you over to your YouTube channel, right, or is?

Speaker 4:

that just going to go to Geiger? No, I think that's Geiger's. You would have to, I think, if you, if you Google Hildi oh, I know Google hashtag Hildi swag, that's my hashtag and it'll come up wherever I am.

Speaker 2:

Oh, hildi swag. H I L D E swag. Ok, yeah, that's cool and then people can go on there and they can learn about what you do and then get a little some tips and cool stuff. You said every day. You've posted a video for how long Since?

Speaker 4:

January, even in Italy, even when I had bad cell service, I figured it out?

Speaker 2:

Oh wow oh, did you get a sim card when you went there? Did you pop the sim? Card out. That's the. That's the thing you got to do. You can't use your phone. You have to go buy one of those temporary sim card things and just get some hours on it or get some data plans on it and just pop your sim card out, put a new sim card in and boom, now you got a new phone.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, but I'm fancier because I have the new iPhone. So there's no such thing. As it's an electronic sim card, it's not that you pop out.

Speaker 2:

Oh, so now I got to change my whole entire process. This is just why do they keep changing things on me? They keep changing the chargers now that I like that better.

Speaker 4:

OK, I don't want to have to follow a tiny little sim card.

Speaker 2:

You got to find something to pop it out and everything.

Speaker 3:

That's the charger. Stupid it does. It works with nothing else, yeah.

Speaker 4:

I mean it doesn't. I don't use the charger, I still use the lightning.

Speaker 3:

The US the USB when it would go into another USB adapter. That was made in so much more sense, Made total sense yeah total sense I don't get it.

Speaker 4:

It's a way for them I got no comment.

Speaker 2:

They're going to make more money doing new chargers every five years, yeah, yeah. And then I got to go to TJ Maxx when they go on sale, and go get a bunch of them.

Speaker 3:

Try having two twenty two year olds and a thirteen year old. Those things are more like they're rarer than white rhinoceroses. That's right, you got a better chance of finding a big foot in my house and you do a charger.

Speaker 2:

Sounds about right. Sounds about right, so that's awesome, hilde. So you're enjoying yourself, you. I mean, this has been great for you. You're really enjoying, like you know, what you've built here and it sounds like you're. You would recommend this to other people too.

Speaker 4:

I think anybody who loves sales, creativity and marketing there. There is a need in our industry because most of us are aging out. Most people in my industry are 70 plus years old. Now, that being said, a lot of those people are gifting their business to their children and grandchildren.

Speaker 2:

Interesting. Do you ever see these go up for sale on like a broker sites?

Speaker 4:

No, what typically happens, like a geiger, if someone wants to retire or give away an account, they keep it in the family. So someone would reach out to me, or they would reach out to the manager and say, listen, you know I'm thinking of retiring. I don't really know who I want to give it to. Do you have any suggestions? And then they work out a deal where, let's say for the first year that the person retires, geiger will give a kickback to the person who retired and then within a year or two that goes away and then the new person just completely takes it over. Well, that's better than buying a business.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think so.

Speaker 3:

My cousin has a laundromat right now. He's he did where it was like the guy's paying off the lease.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

So it was like it was almost like a for sale by owner. So he's paying. He's paying my cousin, you know. For over 15 years he's got to pay X amount of his profits.

Speaker 2:

What's car wash. So he's a laundromat. A laundromat either way. It's like they print money, but it's like one year.

Speaker 3:

If you could just do it in one year one false swoop that'd be way better than having to pay 8%.

Speaker 2:

That's a great deal for somebody If they were able to get in on that like is there a? Is there a way to like reach out to Geiger and be like hey, put me on the list.

Speaker 4:

No. So Geiger is again, once you're in a top position, they won't take people without a book of business. So this industry is actually the perfect side hustle, meaning you've got your nine to five job, you can afford to live, you're just not happy. And so you start out by finding YouTube videos or my videos, or finding someone like me who's willing to mentor you, and then, nights and weekends, you send out your swag, or you call your friends and family and say who do you know, who's an HR or human you know, or marketing, and then, slowly but surely, when you're consistently seeing the money come in, then you can leave your job that you hate, and then you're in my industry.

Speaker 2:

Oh, interesting. I hope you're charging for that. Are you just like mentoring people?

Speaker 4:

Like do you know? No one's asked me to, I'll tell you. Once in a while I'll be in a, in a boutique or a restaurant, and I could just tell that the person helping me would do great. And so I'll have a call with them. And I never hear from them again. I don't know if they think I'm scamming them. They can't believe what they're hearing. But anybody I've suggested that I felt was worthy of my time, because I'm not going, I can't charge them, nor can I pay them right.

Speaker 2:

But then they're going to go out and buy a bunch of Doge coin on Coinbase, I mean it is.

Speaker 3:

it is, for some people, lottery tickets. It is kind of overwhelming because you still have to build a book of business. Yeah so you're going to have to, you know, find the businesses and you're going to face the rejection of the secretary. So you were lucky that they didn't kick you out. But you know, maybe if a man went in, yeah, with the gift basket, yeah that's what happened. Yeah, get the hell out of here. Yeah, that's wild.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's crazy. It's like when there are really good opportunities and if people like you, they're willing to actually help people brush it off, it's just maybe it's just human nature or something like that, but then they'll fall into scams and things that don't actually work.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I think the thing is. It appears daunting. I think if they were.

Speaker 2:

If it seems like too much work, people are like, oh, it's too much work.

Speaker 3:

That's why they're doing, that's why, generally, people are doing the work they're doing.

Speaker 2:

Or they feel like the industry is saturated, like some people just might think it's just too many people in it. I'm not going to be good at it, it's just too many people.

Speaker 4:

It's never enough people, I'm telling you. While I don't want people taking my clients for me, I would love to have more of me around. I enjoy the people that are my competitors so much. What are you making me look at?

Speaker 2:

I don't know, the camera just decided to turn. It was like nope. It was like we don't want to see Kyle anymore. Let me turn, Thank God. Well, anyway, Hilda, this has been awesome. You've done a great job explaining this stuff and your excitement for it. I think people are going to dig in and you might actually have some people reach out to you. Do you got a form or something maybe on your site that people can fill out so you can filter out the people who are just going to waste your time?

Speaker 4:

No, I mean one person reached out to me once on TikTok. She gave me her phone number and I said to her here's my email address. If you're serious, send me an email. And I never heard from her. Oh man that sucks, why wouldn't you just, yeah, that's weird, because I'm not going to make money off of mentoring somebody, but I would not say no to mentoring somebody because it brings me joy to teach.

Speaker 2:

Well, have you ever heard of Kajabi? You could do a Kajabi course. God bless you. Yeah, no, it's a yeah. So my wife, she does skincare. So she has a skincare course that she just started doing and the skincare course you could put it on Kajabi and teach people and then you turn around and you sell that course on like Udemy or something like that. So you could totally do that.

Speaker 4:

I make enough money and I'm really happy what I do. I don't know that I would take time away from what I do to do a side-ass hustle for Kajabi.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but it's one of those things where you build it once and then it just keeps selling itself forever.

Speaker 4:

Right Passive income, which is nice.

Speaker 2:

So now you go to Italy twice a year, anyway. So, yeah, everybody, check it out, go to it's hildycom H-I-L-D-E-E dot com and that's kind of ground zero. And yeah, check it out, see if this could be possibly for you and Hildy's willing to work with you. For God's sake, like it's crazy, like this is great. Is there any other way people could reach out to you? Like do you want them to hitch up on Instagram or any of that kind of stuff?

Speaker 4:

I would love a follow. I'm always happy. You can follow me on any of the platforms.

Speaker 2:

Love it. Love it Well, hildy. Thanks so much for your time today. This has been great. We'll tell Monica you were a treat and, yeah, congratulations on the success and, hopefully, continued success and growth.

Speaker 4:

Thanks, it was great chatting with you guys and if you ever need a t-shirt or hat, advice that's free.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, that's common, don't worry.

Speaker 4:

Thanks, take care All right, see you.

Speaker 2:

Thanks for joining us on this week's episode of Side Hustle City. Well, you've heard from our guests. Now let's hear from you. Join our community on Facebook, side Hustle City. It's a group where people share ideas, share their inspirational stories and motivate each other to be successful and turn their side hustle into their main hustle. We'll see you there and we'll see you next week on the show. Thank you.

Turning Side Hustles Into Main Hustles
(Cont.) Turning Side Hustles Into Main Hustles
Exploring the Promotional Products Industry
Corporate America and Graphic Design Insights
Discussion on T-Shirt Quality and Fundraising
Choosing Right T-Shirt and Swag
Exploring Industry Learning and Mentoring Opportunities