You’re listening to BizNinja Entrepreneur Radio. This show was created for entrepreneurs, business owners, marketers, and dreamers who want to learn from the experts of today and drastically shortcut their success to build a business that supports their dream lifestyle. Since 2011, Tyler Jorgensen has been interviewing business thought leaders from around the world, a serial entrepreneur himself, Tyler also shares his personal insights into what’s working in business today. Welcome to BizNinja Entrepreneur Radio.
Tyler Jorgenson 0:39
Welcome out to BizNinja Entrepreneur Radio, I am here with Brandon Schwartz, the founder, and the man I don’t know all of your cool titles, but DRNXMYTH is the brand and we’re going to learn a little bit more about the brand and how cool it is. We’re also going to learn about Brandon’s entrepreneurial journey. Welcome to the show, Brandon.
Brandon Schwartz 0:57
Thanks for having me and much appreciated.
Tyler Jorgenson 1:00
So what is your formal title over there at DRNXMYTH?
Brandon Schwartz 1:03
I guess the formal title is president, you know, co founder president, you know, it’s a small company. So…
Tyler Jorgenson 1:11
Yeah, you and a college buddy or something created it right?
Brandon Schwartz 1:15
Yeah, we, we didn’t like create it out of school. But we knew each other in school, we both graduated from USC, and he with a degree in law, and then myself with a degree in entrepreneurial studies, and then we always knew we kind of want to start a business together. And, you know, we did a few things. We did a little consulting agency, and then, you know, like… You know, combined forces over this shared interest in craft cocktails.
Tyler Jorgenson 1:40
Yeah, so I love it. I mean, an attorney and an entrepreneur, walk into a bar and start a cocktail company. Like, I love it. I think, you know, every good entrepreneur needs a good attorney, that’s for darn sure. So let’s dial it back a little bit, man, like, when was the first moment in your life that you realized you were an entrepreneur?
Brandon Schwartz 1:59
Probably kind of pretty late in the game, you know, I was always like, kind of a, you know, into business. And I kind of just like, didn’t really know about business. Like, I always had friends who were a little bit like ahead of the curve, like, you know, back in like middle school, or something would be like, you know, when burning CDs was all the rage…
Tyler Jorgenson 2:16
Brandon Schwartz 2:16
And all of tht people at school, you know, so like, you know, I would kind of always, like, be riding on those coattails. And then I didn’t really have like any good ideas of my own. That went all the way to like college, I’d be like buying refurbished phones and trying to resell them on eBay and stuff like that. And then in caladesi, we, we did all these, like feasibility studies and stuff like that, and I never had any good ideas during that time. And I think it’s like, you know, once when you’re in school, and you don’t really have like, the fear in you of like, of like, failing, you know, you’re it’s harder to get motivated or have ideas, at least for me. And yeah, I graduated, I had I got involved with one. And I grew up startup, and I was like, Oh, cool. Yeah, no, I could do this. Like, it all clicked for me. But in college, I was like, these are just like, tests and key terms and stuff that just, you know, just didn’t sink in.
Tyler Jorgenson 3:11
So yeah, so I like I was an entrepreneur since I was a kid. And I went to USC later on, like after I’d already done a few businesses. And so it was a real different like perspective. And I like that you you went like the education route and then got involved in somebody else’s business. And then and then like, okay, now it’s all coming together. Me fire something up. What it like… When you and your business partner sat down and decided to launch? Like, how did you decide what you were going to do? And you guys, I mean, it’d be really good for you to share with the audience what DRNXMYTH is because it’s a unique concept.
Brandon Schwartz 3:44
Yeah, well, the concept basically, we make the world’s first ever fresh bottle craft cocktails. We commercialize different bartenders recipes into this unique cocktail bottle tech that we made, it twists and combines liquor, and fresh cold pressed juice, we never use artificial ingredients, preservatives, nothing like that. It’s all what you see on the labels, what you have in the bottle, but the like, the thing that takes to the next level is the drinks are pressurized at 85,000 psi with cold water. And that pressure it brings down the microbial account in the cocktail. in the juice. And so you get these super fresh craft cocktails that last for about five months plus while they’re refrigerated. So that’s become a big hit in of itself. We you know, we we both were kind of, you know, entrepreneurial at that point, you know, Lawrence, my business partner co founder he you know, he didn’t want to be you know, in law in like the traditional sense. I mean, he definitely flexes a lot of his attorney-ism.
Tyler Jorgenson 4:46
Brandon Schwartz 4:47
But we kind of had some we had some different ideas and they just seemed kind of logistically too challenging for us and we’re always meeting over over drinks and we were really familiar with drinks. I was he you know, he’s from Mexico and my family is big into Alcohol, my dad buys like pallets of Fortaleza every couple of years, which is I really kind of keep tequila in the space. But at any rate, yeah, we just have this kind of, you know, passion for craft cocktails, we knew a lot of the bartenders in LA, and we were like, man, how come we can’t like do this on our own at home? It was like, well, you know, you got to know what you’re doing and have ingredients storage, you know, if you really want to have like, ability to just make craft cocktails, anytime it’s not really that easy. And then when you go to the store, it’s, you know, there’s a bunch of stuff that’s pasteurized using artificial ingredients. So for us, we were like, seems like there’s an opportunity here. He, you know, with his legal background, was able to kind of look at the governing the regulations around the alcohol, it’s called the three tier system. And he was really able to kind of see where the holes were, for us to kind of capitalize on a lot of people, like, looked at the category of ready to drink cocktails and tried to do something similar to what we were doing, but kind of got deterred by just how complex the legal side of it is. So, I had a big background in CPG. And we just, you know, we kind of like, put together our combined, you know, sets of knowledge and skill. And, you know, it was an organic process.
Tyler Jorgenson 6:10
it seems like craft cocktails have kind of taken a recent resurgence over the past, you know, I don’t know, season of business, right? Where, yeah, you know, especially in LA, it’s become it’s not just your basics, right, you have bartenders that are creating unique drinks and things like that. And so, I don’t know, maybe it’s just because I’m getting older that I’m seeing that more, but yeah, it definitely seems like people are more into creative beverages instead of just like the basics. And so it seems like a good timing to enter the market. When you guys started, what was your first big obstacle? And how did you overcome it?
Brandon Schwartz 6:44
The first big obstacle, how do we overcome it? It was really just kind of figuring out how we could even bring a product like it’s a market from like a licensing, manufacturing, manufacturing and licensing perspective, you know, that’s, I can go more in depth. But yeah, I mean, that’s,
Tyler Jorgenson 7:01
Oh, so it’s legal licensing.
Brandon Schwartz 7:02
Yeah. You know, like…
Tyler Jorgenson 7:03
The three tier system of everything, not not licensing, because you said you worked with, um, you know, bartenders and stuff like that. So you’re not licensing recipes and stuff like that?
Brandon Schwartz 7:13
No, you know, we the IP is ours, you know, we work with the bartenders, and we do like, some, it’s kind of like a commission on sales essentially. So they’re incentivized that way, and we collab with them on the recipes, it kind of fits into a template that we’ve developed. But licensing, like you know, like our co packing facility in Long Beach is licensed with you know, federal, it’s a you know, distilled spirits plant. So we had to, you know, lobby the TTB and get the requisite licensing for them to be able to hold on to liquor and now we have like, a whole kind of bonded warehouse going on there. Follow the rules.
Tyler Jorgenson 7:49
So, when did you guys get the first product to market that was actually purchased by someone like a past prototype? When was that?
Brandon Schwartz 7:57
past prototype and actually sold to an end consumer, you know, 2020, basically jam, man.
Tyler Jorgenson 8:03
So you guys are fresh? How did like you got the first purchase product? When did you know, like, okay, like, hey, this, this might actually like, take off and, you know…
Brandon Schwartz 8:12
Yeah, I mean, kind of always knew that from before we began, because the truth is, is like a lot of stuff out there that just doesn’t really cut it, you want to like it, it’s got a cool brand, look and everything nice, it doesn’t really, but I’d say you know, the point where it really started getting traction was like 90 days in to after launch. You know, we had been meditating and planning on this for five years before we launched. So we really, we pored over plans, and and we were pretty tight with a playbook. So about after 90 days, it really started to, to pick up and become like a machine on its own.
Tyler Jorgenson 8:47
Yeah. So I mean, that’s a big deal. I mean, you mentioned you knew that it was going to be it was different, right? Because there’s a lot of there’s a lot of products out there that are really just me-too products. But you guys brought something really unique and new to the market? Has there had to have you noticed that there’s need a need for educating the consumer and educating the buyers on why you guys are different?
Brandon Schwartz 9:08
Yeah, for sure. I mean, there’s definitely and that’s tough, too, you know, at a retail shelf, it’s tough to show that this is different than the other bottle that you know, isn’t that much different from it down, down the you know, down the way in the shelf. So, you know, on Instagram and on Facebook, we definitely have had a lot of traction because we you know, we’ll really leverage the visual marketing aspects of the products, you know, a twist so you have that kind of motion that you can show and then some of the drinks change colors to like, you know, the top will have like a spirit that’s read or has some tincture, you know, whatever inside of that, that twisted it combined. So there’s this visual aspect that’s been really kind of the key thing that has helped drive people in and then you know, the claims all around. It’s definitely a bit but a bit of an education play. But then once they try the product, it’s like, cool, they become an evangelist and then they rebuy and they tell a bunch of other people
Tyler Jorgenson 10:00
Awesome, you know, it’s a, it’s an interesting market because of like the three tier system and and the restrictions on marketing, what were some of the challenges of getting to the market? And like, again, how’d you overcome those
Brandon Schwartz 10:13
challenges getting to the market, I mean, a lot, you know, but there’s, there’s the bottle itself, which, you know, was a definite pain to produce, you know, we had like, 15 different iterations of that, we had to raise capital to be able to, you know, finance the development of it, make molds and pay for engineering and, you know, do shelf life studies and pressurize it, you know, at the CO packing facility with their big, high pressure processing machine. So, I mean, that was, that was definitely a trial. And then, you know, we had, you know, the, the licensing to, I mean, there was a lot there, where we had to get the CO packing facility to agree to a particular type of relationship, and then take that contract, and then, you know, lobby the TTB, to approve it. And then, you know, so there was a lot of, there was a lot of that kind of, you know, obstacles that we had to overcome. And then even at this point, now, you know, now that we’re in market with, with a three tier system, it was, you know, every state has different distribution laws, you know, how you can, how you can, you know, sell to an end consumer, where you can ship to, and you know, who has to take title of the product, and when, before it can actually be sold. So there’s a lot of that, that we had to become experts in, over the last few years, that makes a ton of sense. So, you know, you’re interesting, not only entering in not only a competitive space, but also a highly regulated space.
Tyler Jorgenson 11:35
When you look back at your time studying entrepreneurial studies, how many of those case studies and those courses? Like what percentage of that do you think is applicable or that you’re using in your career? Now, as an entrepreneur,
Brandon Schwartz 11:48
you know, I probably am using a lot more than I remember having one at USC, I mean, it’s been I’m like, 30, I think I’m 30, almost 34. So it’s been a while since I’ve been there. But I mean, you know, they had a pretty good program, honestly, you know, they, they really kind of focused on trying to train you to become an entrepreneur, it was all about like, feasibility, you know, breakeven analysis, you know, trying to just really get you worked on, you know, your, your fundamentals. Right. And then, you know, there are definitely a lot that they brought a lot of people into, you know, Paul orfila, and even like, the, you know, even like the professors, they’re all kind of, you know, entrepreneurs in their own right, as well. So, I mean, I would say, I probably use, I think, like, the the mentality, I think, is what probably, I took from it the most. And then, you know, once I kind of got into business, I kind of like validated what I had learned. And at this stage, and I probably use a lot of it probably like, 90%, of what I learned there, I still kind of like, you know, touch on their business fundamentals.
Tyler Jorgenson 12:48
Yeah, absolutely. And I think, yeah, the fundamentals are always usable, right? Do you think that you can teach entrepreneurship, or business principles that could be applied by an entrepreneur?
Brandon Schwartz 12:59
Yeah, you know, I think I think it’s tough, I think you can kind of teach it, and then like, people can kind of try their best, but I think you got to kind of be the type of person that’s, that’s okay, with a little bit of like, obscurity. And also, you know, you got to be self starting, I think the better way to go about it is, go work for a company, learn on their dime, try and work for a company where you’re going to be able to move around and have some flexibility with what your role is, and then, you know, use that experience to then, you know, go out and start a business, I don’t think it’s a great idea to, especially when you’re trying to start a business, you have no experience, especially when trying to raise capital, a lot of you’re gonna have a hard time getting people to believe in you without a prior success. But it is possible for sure. I mean, there’s so many people that come because they’re, they didn’t need, you know, college to really kick off a business, they really, their interests, and their curiosity is kind of what and they’re, you know, a lot of them are wanting to impress themselves too. So I feel like, just depends on the kind of person you want. But there’s options for you.
Tyler Jorgenson 13:57
I totally agree with that. What did you learn from the, like, consumer packaged goods and beauty industry that you’re applying into the, like, you know, fine spirits industry?
Brandon Schwartz 14:08
Yeah, that’s pretty much everything. I mean, that’s, that was like, you know, the, I was lucky enough to be a part of a few different high growth companies that were led by people that really kind of understood how to get like a high net promoter score and a product, and they really kind of focused in on the on the product before they focused on anything else, you know, they didn’t care about the sales plan, the marketing plan, the name of it, all they cared about was making something that they thought would be able to travel by word of mouth or, you know, would be something that people would ribeye, you know, with, you know, earnest,
Tyler Jorgenson 14:39
so you need to I think you need to explain the Net Promoter Score because most people don’t know what that is. I’ll probably not do a great job. That’s okay. Give us the the Brandon Schwarz version of what that Yeah, you
Brandon Schwartz 14:50
know, I kind of qualify it like it’s how good is your product, or your brand kind of propelling itself forward, you know, without much help. From marketing or from sales, you know, yeah, I worked for one brand early on called Brazilian blowout and it basically transformed your hair from like mesh wire to silk. You go from like Gloria stuff on to Justin Bieber in an hour and your hair would last, like that smooth and silky, soft and shiny for, you know, three months or so and you pay 350 bucks, and it was life changing for lots of women out there. And the haircare industry, you’re basically, you know, you’re as a company, or they’re trying to solve volume, or you’re trying to solve problems related to frizz, and this one basically solved phrase, you know, and, and it just, it just went from zero to 60 million in six months, because people the name was good, but then the results, the results on that were that’s what that was the best marketing, it just pushed the product forward. And I feel like if you if you focus on trying to make your product as best as possible, make people you know, want to rebuy it, then you know, you’re that’s the best thing you can do for your company, no other No, no amount of marketing and other planning is going to be as good as that.
Tyler Jorgenson 15:58
It’s fascinating because there’s two sides of this coin. One is the concept of if you build it, they will come which I don’t believe in. But I do believe that you have to build something that is good enough that once you start to market it, it can, like you said propel itself forward or and that’s the concept of net promoter score, the concept is that it will grow on its own along with the marketing and everything else happening, right. So it can be amplified at a faster frequency. So the presenting blog was a great example of that I had no idea the data on that zero to 60 million in six months is ludicrous. Yeah, that’s fascinating. But but then you’ve worked in other cosmetics and other products in the CPG space. What you know, what else did you see in that space? Like, you guys have a really awesome design at DRNXMYTH, like, it’s not just another me-too product another like, boring bottle, right? There’s some complexity to it, there’s some, there’s a finesse to it. That is, you really can’t describe until you’ve either seen it or really touched it and felt it and dealt with it. Right? So did a lot of that come out of your experience designing products that had that beauty angle?
Brandon Schwartz 17:06
Yeah, of course. I mean, you’re in the business of fashion, if you’re in CPG, you know whether or not you’re selling clothes, you’re selling your look, and you got to get people to be interested, you got to, you got to jump off shelves, you’re in the game of visual marketing, I mean, the product has function, right, which relates to the actual core of the value, which is the taste, you know, the function helps unlock this highest quality taste. But on top of that, you know, it’s two things, it’s twofold, it’s like, you got to have something that has a unique position, you can do that with packaging, you can do that with the stuff that you consume inside of the packaging, or you do it with both, and then you got to make it actually look good too. So that way someone wants to take a picture of it, or when you start doing advertising on it, someone’s gonna stop and click and you know, drive through to your site and buy. So it’s, you’re in the game of fashion, I guess it’s the best way to put it, you know,
Tyler Jorgenson 17:55
make sure the absolutely yeah, even though it’s, you know, food and beverage, it’s still fashion, it’s still Yeah, to be able to present. Now, how do you stay productive? running an alcohol company? Right? Like, you’re going to be testing new products, you know, tasting things, right? Obviously, you got to stay balanced, what kind of rules and discipline Have you had to put in in your life to stay productive and keep growing?
Unknown Speaker 18:17
Well, I don’t know about the production, the production runs. That’s number one.
Unknown Speaker 18:23
You know, my,
Unknown Speaker 18:24
my business partner Lawrence is really the Magic Man when it comes to producing the product. And yeah, it’s tough. I know, for him, he’s, you know, you got to wake up early mornings, you know, because the production runs can run, you know, four or five days at a time. And they can be you know, he’s there to oversee all the tastes. Yeah. So, you know, he’s starting to sip on cocktails at like, 5am, sometimes 6am. And you just get used to, you know, spitting out the product, or, you know, trying it without the liquor and just trying to juice you know, the mix first. But, ya know, it’s, it’s tough. And we try not to, you know, we have 15 people to full time. So there’s, you know, there’s a little bit of leeway, like on a Friday afternoon, if we want to have a couple of drinks, but these days, we don’t really find ourselves, you know, enjoying the product.
Tyler Jorgenson 19:07
You’re past the party phase of the getting started. Now you’re in growth phase. Yeah, that’s cool, man. What would you say like some advice to other entrepreneurs, you know, getting started and trying to decide their product. One, what would you say about raising capital versus not raising capital?
Brandon Schwartz 19:24
Yeah. Well, I would say, you know, it’s good to raise capital, it’s great to, you know, be able to, you know, use money from people that are interested in taking risks and getting high upside. You know, it’s tough. If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re using all your savings, you know, I would say, don’t do that. I would say, if you’re thinking of starting something, and you have a job, don’t quit and just go start that thing, you know, work on both at the same time, you’re way more likely to succeed if you can pay your own bills. I think if you’re going to go raise capital, I think it’s good to just have data, you know, it’s so easy these days to make a little bit of content, run a little bit of advertising and see what kind of results you get on it. Even surveys and stuff like that. But yeah, I think I think you know, test before you invest is the best way I can put it.
Tyler Jorgenson 20:06
Yeah, I’m a big, I’m a big believer in that, like you said, it’s really easy. We live in a data with where our feedback cycle is so much faster than ever, where you can get consumer response and consumer data in minutes or hours as opposed to, you know, a month or later of trying to get surveys and things like that. So I think that’s really smart advice. Especially if someone’s new, you know, it has a job, like, you know, there’s nothing wrong with starting something as a side hustle.
Brandon Schwartz 20:32
Yeah. And then, you know, you can always you can always try and raise first with like, a start engine, or Kickstarter, Indiegogo, some of these crowdfunding platforms. So there’s a lot of avenues, you know, in cash these days, obviously, is somewhat plentiful. So if you know if you have something to try and take a risk, but you know, do calculated risk,
Tyler Jorgenson 20:50
yeah, calculated risk is the way to go. What, what do you think is coming over the next year or two in the industry? And how are you guys preparing for it?
Brandon Schwartz 20:58
In the alcohol industry, I mean, there’s a ton of innovation that’s happening, I think we, you know, we spent the last five years trying to stay ahead of the curve, and I didn’t really anticipate that there’ll be so many other cocktail brands that are coming to market, but with, with COVID, it’s kind of accelerated this ecommerce habit of buying alcohol online. And, you know, that transition of spend from kind of, you know, bars and restaurants back to the home. So, you know, I think there’s a lot to be, you know, excited about for the category that we’re in, I think the alcohol industry, too, is starting to see a big shake up terms of regulation, you know, with all of these COVID related business shuttering, you know, they’re trying to figure out ways to make it, you know, possible for small businesses to, you know, make new revenue streams. So you have like, a lot of restaurants and bars that are able to do drinks to go where they never were before. So that’s, you know, that’s creating a lot of consternation in like the liquor store, you know, lobbyist area. Everyone’s trying to kind of figure out what the new normal is with, you know, commerce and alcohol. I think for us, we’re kind of well positioned. You know, we’ve been kind of thinking about it for five years.
Tyler Jorgenson 22:06
So, yeah, I’m excited about what percentage of your business is expected to be direct to consumer versus, you know, wholesale?
Brandon Schwartz 22:14
Well, you know, it has the appearance of direct to consumer, but everything is actually actually sold and shipped by liquor licensed retailers, we use technology on our site to make sure that all of that conforms to the three tier compliant, you know, the three tier regulations.
Tyler Jorgenson 22:29
Brandon Schwartz 22:29
But um, yeah, I think, you know, I think…
Tyler Jorgenson 22:33
The difference of let’s separate it instead, ecommerce versus like, convenience, or yeah, oh, yeah.
Brandon Schwartz 22:40
This year, it’ll be about 9010 e commerce to traditional brick and mortar retail, you know, the following year, probably similar. And then the third year after, you know, probably more 5050
Tyler Jorgenson 22:50
Yeah. So and that’s fascinating. So in times past, you almost always would launch into the distributor channels into those things, then you’d hope that you could then build an e commerce momentum behind it. And you guys are really launching primarily, you know, e commerce and then looking to sign distribute, like larger distribution and other things down the road. Yeah, I think that that is a perfect example of how much the industry has evolved over the past three or four years. Right? You’re able to do that.
Brandon Schwartz 23:20
Yeah, I don’t do a lot of alcohol companies are not really kind of equipped with personnel that understand ecommerce so we were able to kind of get in and, you know, take advantage of the demand that was starting to build up quickly because of all the beauty in you know, e commerce stuff that we had done in beauty.
Tyler Jorgenson 23:36
Yeah, absolutely. So I’m a big believer that the businesses we build should help us live the life that we want right so what’s one major item on your personal bucket list that you’re going to accomplish in the next 12 months?
Brandon Schwartz 23:51
Teach my kid how to how to read and and do some arithmetic basic arithmetic you know made probably lose like you know 15 ish pounds cut out you know certain parts of my diet you know, I got a few
Tyler Jorgenson 24:04
And hopefully your kids not like 15 and we’re trying to teach you know…
Brandon Schwartz 24:10
He’s a one and a half…
Tyler Jorgenson 24:11
Awesome man. That’s cool. Yeah, it’s that’s a fun stage of life. Hopefully the business is giving you that freedom to still live the life you want be the family man you want and it’s been really good getting to know you a little bit learning about DRNXMYTH. People should check you out online at DRNXMYTH.com. If you’re listening to the show. It’s spelled uniquely, it’s D-R-N-X-M-Y-T-H dot com but if you’re, if you’re watching, if you’re on podcasts, all of the link will be in our description in our BIOS. So check that out. You can find them on Instagram and you can find them on their website. But definitely check it out. Really cool product amazing branding and packaging. Really great getting to know you a little bit and talking about your journey.
Brandon Schwartz 24:49
Yeah, thanks, Tyler. much appreciate it.
Tyler Jorgenson 24:51
All right. Now all my BizNinjas wherever you’re listening, it is your turn to go out and do something.
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