founder of Tiege Hanley skin care brand for men and Robert talk about the journey of a serial entrepreneur and of the importance of self care for men. We need to be okay talking about mental health, and skin health. The skin is the largest organ in the body and men need to take care of theirs, they spend more time in the Sun on average and their skin is abused by the elements more often than women’s and yet very few men talk about caring for their skin.
A little bit about Kelley...
Today’s guest is a serial entrepreneur who. In 2016 he founded his next company, Tiege Hanley, a 6-year-old e-commerce company with the mission of helping men look and feel amazing. The business has evolved from selling three distinct Skin Care Systems to boasting a wide variety of products, including deodorant, bar soap, body wash, and a detoxifying clay mask. Tiege shipped its 1.5 millionth box in July 2022 and has over 350,000 customers worldwide. Kelley Thornton is focused on enriching the experience for all customers and guiding men to healthier lifestyles founded on self-confidence.
Check out more of Kelley
Robert Peterson 0:23
Welcome to the add value to entrepreneurs podcast, the place where we help entrepreneurs to not hate their boss. Our mission is to end entrepreneurial unhappiness. If you dream of changing the world, but you're not sure where to start. The Add valued entrepreneurs podcast will help you transform your life in business. This podcast is for entrepreneurs who want more freedom and fulfillment from their work so they can live the life that they desire. You deserve it, and it is possible. My name is Robert Peterson, former passer turned CEO and the smiling coach. I believe that success without happiness is failing. But there is hope. Join us each week as we bring you an inspiring leader or message to help you. Thanks for investing time with us today. Today's guest is a serial entrepreneur who in 2016 founded his next company, T Hanley, an E commerce company with the mission of helping men look and feel amazing. The business has evolved from selling three distinct skincare systems to boasting a wide variety of products including deodorant, bar soap body wash, and a detoxifying clay mask. Teague shipped their 1.5 million Xbox in July of 2022 and has over 350,000 customers worldwide. Kelly Thornton is focused on enriching the experience for all customers and guiding men to healthier lifestyles, founded on self confidence. Kelly Thornton co founder of T Hanley skincare brand for men and Robert talk about the journey of a serial entrepreneur, and of the importance of self care for men, we need to be okay talking about mental health and skin health. The skin is the largest organ in the body and men need to take care of theirs. They spend more time in the sun on average, and their skin is abused by the elements more often than women's. And yet very few men talk about caring for their skin. If you're an entrepreneur who started their business with a purpose and a passion that has been lost in the busyness of the daily grind, we get it. That is why we've opened up our free strategy calls a lot of entrepreneurs probably including you just want a sense of clarity on the barriers holding them back that you need to overcome in order to accelerate your growth and achieve your dreams. These short 30 Minute Calls give you a chance to work with one of our coaches without any commitment or pressure. Scheduling is easy, just go to smiling cole.com. Let's jump on a call and get you the help and clarity you need. Select a time and let's build your business. It's time for you to add value. Well Kelly, I typically just let each guest share their entrepreneurial journey and share what their how they got to where they are and how they're impacting the world today.
Kelley Thornton 3:09
Yeah, you know, I think I think most of us, it's some point in their lives, they have this kind of kindling of a fire inside of them that they want to be, they want to be kind of the master of their own destiny, or they at least want to control to the extent that they can, you know, how they impact the world around them, and how they, you know, how they put food on the table. My journey? You know, I think, looking back on it, I went corporate for 20 years, but I think looking back on it, I had a business prior to starting in the corporate world. And then you know, this is this is actually since I've been out of corporate over 10 years, I've had two companies. So this is my third company that I've had. And, you know, I just think there's a there's something, you know, innate about people that want to start businesses and and really, you know, want to have an opportunity to change their world and others around them. That's the path that I've been on.
Robert Peterson 4:12
Nice. So let's talk about starting this current business and yeah, what what brought that about and what you're doing? Yeah,
Kelley Thornton 4:21
well, as you mentioned earlier, Robert, I do have quite a bit of hair loss. I'm a proud bald guy. Protecting my skin was always something that was important to me putting moisturizer on my face and using a cleanser on my face. And I spent a lot of time in retail and I realized that it is pretty much a disaster for any man to go into a retail store try to try to navigate personal care and beauty. It's really it's really kind of it's really kind of a shitshow actually Uh, so I set out on a path, you know, doing bark and making it simple for guys to understand the category, the skincare, personal care category for men, by men, and really just try to talk to guys make products for guys and you know, market for guys and have a company that's oriented the way men think about themselves and taking care of themselves. So that's kind of the thesis of the business is really trying to make it uncomplicated for guys to take care of themselves and make it you know, we're a routine and system companies company, provide a skincare routine concept to men and help them you know, look the best that they can be and protect against skin cancer and those those type of issues.
Robert Peterson 5:52
Well, that's fantastic. Being a bald guy myself, I
Kelley Thornton 5:59
Robert Peterson 6:00
I understand. Well, thank you. I've actually I was I was an early adopter. Like, it was, it was clear to me all the way back probably 20 years ago that I was I was not meant to have hair. So yeah. And the hair that was left was not worth keeping. And so I made the decision. And so we had lived overseas at the time, and I made the decision actually. It was it's a I guess it's entertaining story. Maybe. We were missionaries and a part of fundraising is visiting churches and VBS is and, and at this vacation Bible school. I said if the church raised $1,000, I, you know, shaved my head on the last day celebration, right? And so of course, that was the razor on the stage. And and after we got home, I said, Hey, I think I just gotta clean this up. And and we arrived back in Colombia with my head clean shaven. And my teammates. Like, are you sick? Reaction Time was, you know, do you have something going on? And actually, it's just been, it's really my wife likes it. And so she looks at it far more than I do. And it's just become it's just become our normal, man. It's kind of funny
Kelley Thornton 7:18
how guys remember this?
Robert Peterson 7:21
It's my kids. Yeah, my kids see, see pictures of me with hair. And they're like, Dad, you look homeless? Yeah.
Kelley Thornton 7:28
I think you'll look great. Don't worry about it. I had a similar experience. I am. And I can actually tell you the date of my last haircut. It was August 16 1997. Oh, we're close. And I told I told my wife I was going to, you know, go to the local hairstylist to get my, my, you know, $10 haircut, or whatever it was at the time. And I kept on asking her to cut it shorter and shorter and shorter, and she wouldn't. And I said, I don't understand this. Every time I come here, I tell you that I want my hair cut short, like completely shaved. And you won't do it. And she goes, Oh, yeah, Kelly, because the moment I do that, you'll never come back. And like a light bulb just went off, you know. And she cut my hair. And my wife was at the store. And she came down the sidewalk alongside her house and saw me I was out in front doing some some yard work. And she just had this, you know, look of horror on her face. And it's the last time I went to get my hair cut. Of course, I think I think probably like your spouse. My my wife grew to like it a lot and likes how I look. So I feel good about myself.
Robert Peterson 8:38
Yeah, my wife has actually done the shaving on mine more than I have probably Yeah. She gets to those spots that I can't see. Right. Yeah. So although I am quite proficient at doing it by touch, so I can do it pretty much with my eyes closed. Now, thanks to obviously modern shaving tools make it so much easier. I will say though, that my best shave has come from an Indian barber in Africa. Now I know that's seems crazy. But you know, having your head shaved with a straight razor is is definitely an experience for those that have never had that done a person that handles a straight razor and, and a hot towel. Is that's a that's a worthwhile experience to pursue if you're a bald man and have your head shaved. Actually the best, I think,
Kelley Thornton 9:31
yeah, it's a luxury. I mean, it's a great experience. Absolutely. No, it was phenomenal experience.
Robert Peterson 9:37
It was worth it. And I just happened to meet an Indian barber in Africa. But you could probably pursue them anywhere in any city and find the right person that knows how to use a hot towel and a straight razor. It's it's definitely yeah, that's a spa it was a spa day.
Kelley Thornton 9:55
Exactly. That is a spa for our guy.
Robert Peterson 9:58
Absolutely. Well And I appreciate your, your company's desire to provide skincare for men. I think one of the areas that that I struggled with was my eyes are deep, deep socket, I don't know, they're just sort of always looks like I have a shadow in my eyes to begin with. And then of course, you get this skin under the eye and, and it's prone to and of course you find these online remedies that, you know, it's a 49 $99 a month membership and they'll keep sending you their whatever's in their bottle that you don't know and made in China and mixed together with whatever they mix that day. I don't know. But it was never a very satisfying shopping experience, let alone easy to use experience. And so
Kelley Thornton 10:52
yeah, I just think it's important for guys to take care of their skin. And you know, it's not just their skin in their face but you know, taking care of themselves physically, right. Oh,
Robert Peterson 11:02
absolutely. I think yeah, our body you only get one right that's it. You only get one there's no reissue there's no returning it. There's no and I think I think man especially assume that it's just perfect. It's gonna last it's it's gonna invincible it's supposed to do right there. Having been a pastor, you know, hospital calls for men where that rare moment where the wife finally drugged them in there, and then they waited way too long. My dad waited way too long, last year with COVID. And it was bad timing. He just gotten the vaccine. So we thought it was a reaction to the vaccine. Well, two days later, two days before he'd gotten the vaccine, he was exposed and and he got a pneumonia and he was going to die in his recliner. If after a week of that I finally said, Now we're going to the hospital and he spent eight days in the hospital thankfully never needed to vent or anything but but the cough was going to kill him in and he was dying because he wasn't eating or sleeping. And I think it's that's a very typical man. thing. We don't we don't go to the doctor, we you know, there's nothing wrong. Everything's okay. You know, I used to joke that unless it's falling off or broken, obviously, you know, we don't need a doctor unless the blood squirting in three foot radius. You don't need a doctor, right? Like it's too far from your heart to kill you. So? Yeah.
Kelley Thornton 12:30
I talked about this all the time, Robert, I think, you know, this is one of the things that I'm trying, when I'm on, have an opportunity to speak to male audience. It's one of the things I'm talking about all the time, as men, we need to start taking care of better care of ourselves, you know, the concept of self care, has really, I mean, this isn't something you talk about, right? We're not talking about self care at dinner, when we're with our friends, but the concept of self care is really important. And it's it because of changes in healthcare and healthcare laws. And, you know, not political at all. But you know, the Obamacare and the way this health care's really kind of materialized here in the US, it's really incumbent on people to be at strong advocates for their own personal health. And so, as a guy, you really, you really do need to go and, and have yourself, you know, take yourself to your general practitioner, like, at least once every, you know, preferably once a year at least once every 18 months. And if you're not doing that, just don't expect to live that long. Be okay, be okay with what he's going to tell you when you're, you know, when you're approaching 70. And, you know, be okay with that. But if you want to, if you want to try to live a healthy life and continue to go hiking, and going to Africa and doing things that make a difference in other people's lives, start thinking about taking care of yourself.
Robert Peterson 14:04
Well, absolutely. And I think I'm a huge advocate for Mind Body Spirit, and they they work in alignment and to fuel your mind you need to worry about what you're eating to fuel your body, you need to be concerned about what you're putting in your body. And and it's our government has never been very helpful in telling us this portion of that and this portion of that and the size of that. Now the bottom line is they need to teach us that Food is fuel Right? Right. Absolutely. What you put in your body is just as important as what you put on your body and then you and I had a conversation when we first got on before we hit record about sunscreen and the need for you know keeping this thing out of the sun. Because because it is it's a great big Sun magnet I live it you know 5200 feet and so the UV is high I lived in Colombia and it's 8000 feet and the UV is even higher there. And and you have to protect yourself from from you UV even though the temperatures aren't high, right, exactly, the UV still can cook this thing. And I joke about all the time I have to protect it. Otherwise, it turns into a tomato and I look pretty weird with a tomato on my shoulders.
Kelley Thornton 15:14
Yeah, UVA UVB. I mean, again, not nothing political at all, but the sun's rays have gotten, I've gotten stronger. And so it just, you know, it is really important. You know, whether it's our am moisturizer with SPF, or you know, another brands product, I strongly recommend every day. And, again, the mentality of the guy and in the way you were describing earlier, I completely agree with him, you know, we're just not thinking about this stuff. Even if you live you know, in a very cold environment, but a high altitude or a lot of sun, you need to use a moisturizer every day with an SPF, you need to at least put it if you're not bald, you need to like us, you need to put it on your face Your chin, right below your neck and your your ears, and in the back of your neck. This is where guys get, you know, get Scot Skin Cancer men, it's the most common form of all cancer, and men tend to get it in greater and greater cases than women. And it's easily preventable. So, you know, I strongly suggest that you put a moisturizer on if you live like where you live in, you know, an environment where it can be very dry, you should for sure, use a moisturizer every day, it's it takes zero time you brush your teeth. In our case, you know, we use we suggest you use you know, a face wash. And when you put a moisturizer on, I mean, it's those three things and you're really truly not adding anytime to your routine, you know, you get up, you brush your teeth, you wash your face with a moisturizer, with a high quality face wash, and you put a moisturizer on. That's it, there's nothing unmanly about that. It's just a great, it's great grooming habit. So I you know, I strongly encourage everybody to be doing that.
Robert Peterson 17:08
But I will say my, my worst spot is that V in my in my shirt, that's the spot you forget. And that's the spot that always gets the sun and you don't and you don't realize it and so it's it is it is crazy, this this attitude that men have about about doctors and about self care and, and I I appreciate your company and your desire to, to serve men in a way that they need and to open their eyes to the reality of you know, I obviously I think men work outdoors more than women and so that the sun is a big piece of, of their contract this skin cancer and, and, and they take it for granted, right? The idea that light can be out in the sun and it'll just, you know, my skin will get accustomed to it
Kelley Thornton 17:59
doesn't quite worked out. But I mean, so you know, I like you know, it doesn't matter who you are we at T Shanley we kind of shoot right down the middle of America, our customer is. So we have just as many guys that are that are older than 40 As we do you know, 1818 to 35. You know, we have just as many urban guys as we have guys living in you know, in the middle part of the country. We represent we you know, we over index for both Hispanic, African American Asian. So we have a broad, a broad group of guys. I mean, we, you know, we're kind of unapologetic, unapologetically male, but we're not, you know, we're not like military grade. Right. So, you know, we really are just kind of a guys guys brand.
Robert Peterson 18:52
So how did you decide that niche?
Kelley Thornton 18:55
You know, I think like, I don't the concept of unisex and fill in the blanks, but in our case, you know, unisex you know, like personal care products. I mean, that didn't doesn't really make sense to me actually guys skin. Yeah, I mean skin is skin, but a guy's skin is different. Absolutely, as you just described it with basically, because of the elements that we face, we produce more cerebrum and oil, you know, in our male skin tend to be thicker, produce more oil content. So we just, you know, we're just a little bit different, you know, and how we should be thinking about taking care of our skin. So, you know, for us, I just, I want it to be a male brand. We're not a unisex brand. And and there's nothing wrong with that if other people other companies out there want to try to, you know, cater to men and women, that's just not our thing. We're just we're just and we're talking a lot of guy over here. We're talking about a lot of stuff like working out what to wear, how to get the job, how to get the date, you know, you know how Proper adequate of this and that that's his kind of our stick over here is talking guy stuff. So, you know, that's that's what we're doing. We're trying to help a lot of guys think about how to look and feel amazing.
Robert Peterson 20:12
So, I mean, obviously you made the decision to serve man and target men. Now how did how did this demographic come about that? I mean, I like unapologetically male but not necessarily militant. So, you know, I, I think you know the most popular YouTube video last year was was at Harry's razor commercial.
Kelley Thornton 20:34
Yeah. Very popular. Yeah.
Robert Peterson 20:37
And of course, it was quite militant. Right. I mean, yeah, it was. It was aggressive and militant. And it obviously but it it targeted audience. And yeah,
Kelley Thornton 20:50
it's kind of interesting. I think maybe like, the fact that we're a Midwest brand. has a lot to do with it. You know, kind of myself and my partner's Aaron Marino and Rob Hoxie. We're pretty, we're like fairly principled men, you know, and kind of feel, you know, feel like, you know, some of our thoughts about how we like to live our life, we can we can bring into our business. So I think some of those things play into it, the fact that we're Midwestern we are, you know, a modern male brand. But, you know, we're not, you know, we're not to La ish, we're not to Brooklyn ish, we're just kind of riding in between, which I think is fine for me. Yeah.
Robert Peterson 21:33
Nice. Well, and I like that you honor your principles, that, that those can be a part of who your company becomes. And, and it's a true representation of, of the founders, right, who come together to, to serve men. And then these are the men that that we identify with, because we're we were them.
Kelley Thornton 21:52
Absolutely, yeah, it was interesting. I was talking to a customer experience team this morning. And they were they were telling me about their told me this story about this guy that's called three or four days in a row. And he's kind of playing around with us, he's, you know, wants this discount or that discount and says is this as is that? I overheard our customer experience team saying, hey, look, you know, we you know, you call yesterday we, you know, we we've done this for you, you called again, you know, today, we've done this for you. And now you're calling talking to supervisor, and we said, look, I don't think we're your company. Like we're not, we're not your your skincare company. Here's and we looked it up online, here's it, here's a code from one of our competitors. And I want to say who it is, here's a discount code that we found online to one of our competitors, we suggest you go with them. Because you're not our dude, you know, because if you're just not our guy, it's okay. That's fine. Go go, you know, bother our competitors. You don't fit our tribe, Dude, get the hell out of here. You know, I mean, that's, that's, personally, we can't be all things. We're not a government, which we're for profit organization, we can't be all things to all people. Clearly,
Robert Peterson 23:05
clearly the government's not all things to all people even so they just get to keep doing it their way without having to satisfy their customer.
Kelley Thornton 23:14
Yeah, yeah, exactly. But But I appreciate,
Robert Peterson 23:17
you know, recognizing who your customer is, and being willing to say, be willing to say no, you know, hey, we're, you know, we're not, we're not a good fit. And when we recognize that, even if you don't?
Kelley Thornton 23:29
And if that's okay, you can go to somebody else, please.
Robert Peterson 23:32
I mean, absolutely. Because obviously, the truth is, you you tried to create a brand that does have a modern feel to it, and, and that's going to have a price, and that's, that's going to have a value. And, and for those that are looking for that value, then then I think that you're you're there people I think, you know, I appreciate the fact that you know, you want to make an uncomplicated skincare, right, and so you want to provide a product that, that provides a service and, and the instructions, I appreciated the instructions, you know, you guys sent me the kit and, and I appreciate, you know, just even like the usage amounts, right? I think so many brands don't tell you how much of something to use, right? And so the nickel size, the, the one pump, and the pea size, at least tells you, you know, it's kind of like how much toothpaste am I supposed to put on the brush, right? Yes. How much of this am I supposed to be using to cover this this thing? And then how long should a product lasts and be able to know how long a product should last and what level? Am I using it? Right? Make it as simple as possible? Because the truth is, I don't pay attention and I I'm not going to go watch YouTube videos to learn how to take care of my skin. But it's just not my jam.
Kelley Thornton 24:51
That's fine. Yeah, I mean, it's amazing. I've been using our system for seven years and I use the exact amount that's on that card every single day. And, you know, it works perfectly
Robert Peterson 25:03
nice. Well, I'm just being honest, like you guys aren't, I don't know, maybe there are a few guys that are gonna go look at a video to learn how to use something. Right? There's there's certainly videos that I've had to learn how to use my mic and set up some of the podcasts and other things. But if my skincare is that complicated, and I have to watch a YouTube video to learn how to do it, like, I'm not sure I'm in.
Kelley Thornton 25:27
No, I don't think so either. Maybe to fix one of your Broncos. Right? You?
Robert Peterson 25:33
Yeah, absolutely. So I appreciate, you know, a simple card says, This is what you need to do. You know, there's, there's five tubes in the box. This is how you use them your morning when you use an evening routine. Yeah, so brilliant. Exactly. It's, it's, well, at least it's, I'm not gonna say it's it. I mean, it is simple, right? I mean, it really is. It's a simple, here's the system, we're making it uncomplicated, and, and we do have a video if you really want to go watch it. And so the videos available for those millennials or whichever guys, you know, I'm definitely
Kelley Thornton 26:07
All right, there's 1000s of guys watch our videos. And that's okay, too.
Robert Peterson 26:12
Absolutely, I'm sure. No doubt I I'm just not the guy. Like if I have to learn how to, to watch a video like, but I'm also the guy that typically doesn't read instructions for putting something together. So
Kelley Thornton 26:24
it's alright, just as long as you're putting, you know, a moisturizer on your head, when you go out. You're good, you're doing it, you're almost there.
Robert Peterson 26:34
We will be right back after this short break. This episode is sponsored by perfect publishing a different approach to publishing a book. Perfect publishing carefully chooses heroes of Hope, who exemplify living a life they created through faith, hope, patience, and persistence. No matter what page you open to, in this mini cube of hope, you will find a leader with a big heart, you will see you are not alone. The authors may share similar challenges that only hope and action could resolve. Get your free ebook at get a dose of hope.com Welcome back, let's get back to more greatness. Well, I definitely know that I only have one face. And you know, and obviously, a lot of the things that our our culture does, is rough on our skin. And you know, smoking and I assume vaping and I and and I assume even drinking it for that are so normalized in our culture have impact on on skin because it has impact on your hydration levels. And that has the impact impact your skin. And so we need to do all we can to counter and like you said the sun's getting stronger, it's not getting weaker. And so we need to counter those, the impact that that has on our on our skin. And I so I I'm definitely a huge advocate of self care. And I think self care includes, you know, taking time away from work taking time to play. And you asked me about about ski and before we got on, are you a skier snowboarder? So my question for you is, so what do you do for for play and fun?
Kelley Thornton 28:16
Yeah, well, that's a little hard. I mean, I, you know, I, but you hit on a lot of them already. And I'll answer your question, but, you know, making sure you keep hydrated, working out regularly. One of the most underrated is, is monitoring your sleep, and making sure you're getting adequate sleep. I don't, you know, I, again, self care, like, you got to make sure you're monitoring your sleep and make sure that you're, you're getting adequate sleep, and you can get, you know, $50 Watch the adults connect with your phone and tell you, you know, whether or not you're sleeping right in your heart and on monitors your heart rate to, I mean, these are really simple things that guys should be doing. You know, just checking in with their body. So getting as much sleep as you can, and that that, honestly, in my opinion, Robert, that's a that's a challenge. I mean, getting, you know, getting seven hours of good sleep every night is is something you actually in my mind, in my world, with three children, you know, and a dog and in a company with lots of employees. You really have to work towards getting good sleep. I mean, it's it doesn't just happen. Hydrating eating right, getting to the doctor at least once every 18 months. You know, and what you know what I do? I'm fortunate enough to live in the city. So I do I see a lot of live events. I see. You know, I go to Chicago Bears season ticket holder. I go well, sorry. I know I go and watch a lot of baseball. Our
Robert Peterson 29:59
Broncos are right there. Broncos are right there with them that that we had such high expectations for this year. And it's yeah, what on earth happened?
Kelley Thornton 30:07
Just at least we have a player and Justin fields that we like to go watch. We've got got a guy that that's fun to watch. Yeah,
Robert Peterson 30:15
absolutely well and piccies view has been hurt a little bit of late. But yeah, it's, it's a huge I mean, I've been a lifetime Bronco fan so so I empathize for sure. And we're like Chicago we're not accustomed to using to losing teams. And we've had basically, since our Super Bowl win in Super Bowl 50, we've had all losing seasons, and it's, it's heartbreaking. Partly we've had an ownership change because the owner passed. And that that never helps. But it's, it's definitely a part of our culture here. So I see Cago very similar. It just
Kelley Thornton 30:59
goes to show you how hard it is to be on top of any at any level and be dipped to compete, whether it's, you know, skincare or football compete at a high level and stay there is tremendously difficult.
Robert Peterson 31:17
Oh, yeah, look at the Rams. I mean, obviously, they were the Super Bowl champions, and they're right there with the same record as the bears in the Broncos. So
Kelley Thornton 31:25
exactly. It is really, really hard to compete at high level.
Robert Peterson 31:30
Well, and I think, I think that, you know, leadership and of course, you understand the power of a team and, and the power of connection. How, how are you as a company, keeping your employees connected? And
Kelley Thornton 31:47
yeah, I think we spend an inordinate amount of time on culture. And it's everything, it's from the hiring process, to you know, how we structure our, our bonuses and our, you know, our quarterly or monthly and quarterly KPIs, everything is kind of struck is created around our, our cultural principles. And so I think, you know, that, that, that in hiring great people, so I think like having a great culture, and living that culture, and culture is not just it's not, it's not, you know, that we have, you know, free lunches or free coffee every that's, that doesn't necessarily build culture built, culture is built based on you know, a set of principles and using those principles to guide the way your business is managed. And I think most people, and having a clear purpose, you know, and a clear, a clear vision for where the company's going. So I think, you know, here at T Shanley, you know, we live by certain principles, you know, act like an owner, be accountable for your actions, you know, debate issues, but stick to them once a decision is being made. On and on and on, we have about seven core values that we stick with and talk talk about all the time. Beyond that, I think it's really interesting because, you know, things have been very different after COVID With office culture and people and working from office working from home and flexibility. And so we've really, over the last couple of years really been revamping kind of how we think about hiring people and training people and how much time they need to be in the office. But we, we tend to be a little bit more traditional mean, we want people in the office a minimum of three days a week. And we offer a lot of flexibility. But in my mind, a lot of flexibility requires a lot of accountability, if we're going to give a lot more flexibility to to our team, which we do here at T Shanley there needs to be in return a higher level of accountability for your work and your actions. And so you know, that that's, that's my philosophy and, and our team really responds well to it.
Robert Peterson 34:20
But I think maybe you've got some principles there that like the idea of act like an owner, and in that flexibility requiring accountability. You know, you want to work at home two days a week, but then we need to make sure that that you're just as productive, if not more productive, correct. We're giving you that benefit. And so I think, I think obviously the cultural shift in in our corporate space and in that the challenge that you're talking about companies, you know, work at home or work in the office, how do we develop the culture? I think the pushback has really been in in how employees are treated and I think that Best Companies are the ones that the C suite is not the most important, right? They're companies that are honoring their clients. They're honoring their, their stockholders, they're their shareholders, they're honoring the C suite. And then most importantly, they're figuring out how to honor their employees. And all four of those have to work. You know, in congruence, see there has to be a connection between all four. And the best companies are the ones that are figuring out how to how to do that, and how to make it
Kelley Thornton 35:33
work. I completely agree. And there are some companies that I think went too far, and are trying to figure out how to, you know, kind of reel things back in. And I think, actually, there's a lot of companies like that. And they're really struggling, and they're
Robert Peterson 35:49
being demonized for it. But but we know, obviously, the C suite had had way too much power and control and in the C suite would lay people off just to get their numbers to hit right at the end of the year. So they got their bonuses and, and things like that. And, and obviously that has to swing back towards you can't just, you know, lay off your entire workforce just to make your numbers and, and expect there not to be consequences and repercussions in in hiring. And I think right now hiring is probably the number one challenge for a lot of companies. And of course, the other challenge for companies are the ones that are laying people off and over fished right now. We're gonna look
Kelley Thornton 36:29
back on this time and like try to analyze the the economists are going to analyze this whole, you know, the cycle in hiring and firing and, you know, change in employment status and the gig economy and the hybrid economy. And I don't, it's going to take a while to really like figure out clearly what what transpired last few years with how people think and feel and companies reacted, because it is, it's there's a lot of it's still, that doesn't really make sense to me out there. It's still hard to hire people, but there's been so many layoffs, and you know, it's, you go you still go into service places, you know, some restaurants and, you know, places in town in Chicago, and they're still, you know, don't they're not staffed correctly, right, they're not re staffed. And I just, it just, I can't figure out what goes on at some of these companies?
Robert Peterson 37:26
Well, I think there's been a lot of businesses that haven't been intentional and have been taking things for granted, that you no longer can take for granted. And I think that, you know, the way you treat your employees, and I think that accountability, right, I think companies want to have the accountability. But if you haven't treated your employees, well, then you don't get you don't get permission, you haven't given yourself the, the avenue for having that higher level of accountability. And so the employees are pushing back and, and leaving. And so, so I think, yeah, I think there's a space where this is going to come out, and we're gonna say, you know, people matter. And yeah, bottom line is people, at the end of the day in companies that choose to take care of people on every level, are the ones that are going to make it Oh, yeah, look at this.
Kelley Thornton 38:13
Yeah, I totally agree. I totally agree. And do and then on the other side, there's, there's probably a segment of the population that have just, you know, had a lot handed in the last couple of years, and they're like, add, or now, you know, I don't really feel like working, or I'm gonna stay at this job for six months, and then hit another job. And it's, it's really hard, you know, to train people and, you know, to bring them up to speed and make them productive. So it's just, that's this kind of union Yang thing. And I think we're going to be looking back on 10 years from now and really trying to study what happened in the labor market during these, you know, two years of COVID and few years after.
Robert Peterson 38:50
Yeah, absolutely. So you guys have made a decision? I think part of your your decision is having your products made here in the United States. Can you can you talk about that choice?
Kelley Thornton 39:02
Yeah, I mean, that's both, it comes from a lot of different things. It's both and, you know, kind of a necessity, in terms of trying to manage and having some control over supply chain. You know, it's a purposeful decision, you know, to work with us manufacturers, it's a bit of a control thing to make sure our quality stays in line with where we want it to be. So it's, it's, it's a lot of things. And it adds a lot of cost to the business. And it's hard, it's hard, really, you know, to to explain that to the consumer. And to justify that, you know, things just cost more, because we choose to do business in you know, in America. But, you know, there's a lot of companies out there that have trained the consumer to just want the cheap This thing, and the only way to do that is you know, is to import. And, and it's a challenge, and I don't feel comfortable at all having part of our supply chain in China, you know, it just is really nerve racking for a business owner. So especially
Robert Peterson 40:17
these last couple of years with China's still, I mean, China's still shut down and still as areas that are closed and in, in dealing with with those things. And so, but But I do think you're in an industry, that is largely produced products are largely produced across the board in, in lower economic places, you know, China and ours. And so you're, you're in an industry and competing against, you know, your competitors who are producing at much lower, lower labor costs. And so that is it, that is a tough decision to, you know, financially, at least present to your consumers. And, and you're right, I think our culture has trained people to want this lowest price, lowest price, but recognizing that, you know, that means half the crap we're making is disposable. And it's, and it's generic and doesn't have the quality control, it doesn't have the same level of, you know, quality that American manufacturers can produce. But of course, American manufacturers are facing $15 minimum wages.
Kelley Thornton 41:24
First, yeah, I mean, the same thing is true with sustainability, we spent, you know, for a company, our size, and an inordinate amount of time, producing products that are recyclable, our packaging can be fully recycled, and things of that nature and using packaging materials that are that are good for the environment, not bad for the environment, all of our customers want it, we've pulled and talked to all of our customers, they all want it, nobody wants to pay for it. Nobody wants to pay for it, maybe they'll give us like, a few extra pennies, like some change, you know, round up, you know, instead of their order being, you know, 999, they'll they'll give us, you know, they'll give us the extra penny towards. So it's, it's a hard thing. You know, it really is, it's very difficult. You were just mentioning a few minutes ago about companies, you know, laying off people, you know, to make law, it's a very difficult thing to as a business owner and leader, and have people in your supply organization, that are spending extra money to keep things in America or to make them sustainable when the consumer wants it, but isn't willing to do their fair share to pay for it. So you know, and you'll hear from people protesting in the streets, that they want corporate America to be more responsible. But it's a really hard thing.
Robert Peterson 42:53
No, I think Seth Godin just had a post today about sustainability and, and that 75% of people want it and approve of it, and only 30% are willing to pay for it. So there's there is this, this weird dynamic of, oh, we want this, but not if it costs money. But of course it costs money. There's there's costs involved in, in making these kinds of choices today. But there's costs involved in not making these choices today. And that's the piece that that people aren't aren't willing to understand is there, there's a price that will be paid. Yeah. And it will be paid by your children and it will be paid through your reel out of your retirement, it'll be paid out of your future and the future of of your children and your grandchildren. And, and yeah, and we're we're way too willing to pass that buck right now. And it's kind of like the men we talked about the beginning, right? Like, oh, the body will just keep going until it doesn't. And then the cost directly the cost of fixing it, because you're overweight us you haven't ate right because you haven't exercised and you haven't drank enough water. All of those things are have a price and that price is going to be poor health in your in your senior years. Yep, multiplied by healthcare expenses for medications and treatments and all of those things and we know we see this playing out like the medical systems taxed already right. And now it's just going to get worse day by day as more and more baby boomers become ill from their lifestyle choices.
Kelley Thornton 44:30
And this is and this is brings this conversation full circle this is why self care is so important. You know we need to do our fair share. And it's it can be from a very small thing. Like we want to be here to help our wives you know as we get older, help our children as they get older and progress and have children and we want to be around right so it's that's a little thing we just want to be as men we just want to be here be present Be part of it. And then it gets to these bigger and bigger conversations about our role to take care of ourselves. So that, you know, we don't have diabetes and heart disease and all these things where these costs as an individual are going to be passed on somewhere, you know. So we need to do our fair share to you know, as both men and as consumers and as companies, to, you know, to try the best we can to pick up some of the tab, I'd say, easily $100,000, annually, we spend on sustainability. And, like, if it went away tomorrow, like if we, if we said, we're going to take that money back, and we're just going to, you know, put bad stuff in the environment and everything, it wouldn't impact the p&l of our business, I mean, it would, it would positively impact the p&l of our business, we would have $100,000 drop into the bottom line, we we see almost no real customer benefit. I mean, we we couldn't talk about it enough to to get the $100,000 back and new customers, and we just don't we we just couldn't recoup the benefit of that expense, in any way, shape, or form. So it's just a conscious decision from the company to do it.
Robert Peterson 46:15
Well, and you can see why so many companies struggle with that conscious decision, because the bottom line drives so much. But if you stand by your principles, then it's not the bottom line that's driving the choice. It's your principles that are driving the choice, and I appreciate you sharing the challenge in sharing the struggle and sharing the reality that that's out there is, you know, consumers, on one hand, say they want this, and yet they still keep shopping at Walmart for the cheap crap. And exactly, and they and they complain, they want to protest Walmart, they want to complain about all these things. They want to complain about China, and they want to shut it down and all these things, but in reality, they don't. They're their pocketbook is speaking volumes. Exactly. And and I think, you know, I think obviously, government intervention is one piece that that will continue to level the playing field, but But truth is, until people until their wallet matches their principles, that this will continue to be a challenge for business owners,
Kelley Thornton 47:23
correct. Small companies like us, you know, we can try to do our part. And I, you know, I don't want to, there are some big global companies that I do believe, you know, do take this, you know, as seriously as they can. But the vast majority, I mean, if you ask, you know, the vast majority of business owners that are have revenue under 50 million a year, I say nine out of 10, probably, you know, can't can't put the math together to make it make it make sense for them. So,
Robert Peterson 47:57
which is a shame, right? Because the sustainability is just as important as the self care. Yeah, if we don't take care of this planet, it's gonna get it's gonna get broken too. And then it won't be sustainable for us to live here. And there's not very many other options.
Kelley Thornton 48:12
No, no, and I and I have a young daughter that just graduated from a great school in New York, and she was heavily involved. She's a business major, she was heavily involved in sustainability at her school, and her university. And even with all that training and a great education from a great university in New York. You she's, it's still like the actual economics and how it really works. Just doesn't understand it, you know, and she's been, I've been talking to her about this for quite some time, and she's been doing more research on companies. And following the news on what what's really happening out there. I mean, landfills can even the US, the US kind of like whole landfill recycling. I mean, for the most part, it's really a farce. It's just it the whole recycling concept here in the US is just, I mean, mostly, most recycling centers can't recycle the majority of things for one reason or another, like if it's black, they can't recycle it because their their lasers don't even see it. You know, if it has certain parts that need to be taken apart, it can't be recycled. Packaging is terrible. I mean, I see it day in and day out. I could just take you to Amazon right now and show you stuff in personal care in our space. That is packaging made of ABS and other stylings that are that are absolutely horrible for the environment. I saw a package yesterday. It was a beautiful package. And it was it was a paper lined refilled product. I see it on On our supply managers desk, and it's phenomenal. And it's paper looks like it's very recyclable, the whole inside is all plastic. And the only way to recycle that piece is correct is for the content. It's glued in. So the plastics glued inside the paper, the consumer actually would need to take everything apart and recycle them separately and then
Robert Peterson 50:24
go and there's so many parts of that, that that go into the especially most recycling now is is single chain, right? Everything goes into one bin, and you throw things in there. And because they're mixed, they're one things glued to another piece of plastics glued to a piece of cardboard, it gets thrown in the trash. Yeah, yeah, it's amazing a lot. And they're not teaching, they're not teaching people this, they're giving them a stupid recycle bin and saying, Oh, our city's recycling, you should recycle and throw everything in there. And then half of it still goes to the land, correct. Because they're not teaching you to separate those things, and to clean them or to fix them or to do what's necessary to make the recycling process work.
Kelley Thornton 51:04
Right. And just because something has a recycling symbol on it, it you have to look at the number inside the symbol and then understand which each one of those numbers are. So you know, almost everything is technically recyclable. So, you know, as a consumer product company, you can almost put like, the recycled symbol on everything. You know, the question is, is like, what does it need to do to actually be recycled? And that's what the number tells you?
Robert Peterson 51:31
Like, there's Yeah, what's the reality at the at the Recycle Center? Where they're sorting it?
Kelley Thornton 51:36
Exactly. Yeah. So I mean, can companies this is even horrible companies. I know, I know, some of them in our space. Large, like, you know, listed companies that trade on, on the stock on in New York. I mean, they, they actually like, you know, pretend like this bag that they're sending a refill of soap in is like a, you know, recycled product. It's like one of the worst, you see that you're tricking the consumer to think that we're reducing packaging by sending it a refillable bag that you refill your bottle, and the bottle is nice, not that bad. You know, it's it's polyethylene or something that is easily recyclable. But the bag itself that you think is like saving all this plastic waste is horrible. It's like Mylar, like a balloon. It's like horrible to recycle. So it's like the mindset of the consumer is just, it's just amazing.
Robert Peterson 52:29
Well, and and yeah, there's no, there's no training yet. There's no, no reinforcing. There's no, there's no, no one in that space is obviously trying to help make it even more realistic. Because there are things we can do. And there are things you can pay attention to. But nobody's out there, out there teaching it and, and that's the shame. I mean, Seth Godin, I think is got the biggest effort in in the carbon Almanac and definitely recommend folks, this a great time of the year to share that. And yeah,
Kelley Thornton 53:00
but yep, we spent 10 cents more a bottle. I mean, this is insane, right, we spend 10 cents more a bottle on our in our body wash bottles, to put a an iodine in there that is a reflecting material. So that the most most recycle centers in America will pick up this black our packaging is black with it's our one of our colors is black, as you know. But just so that that the recycled laser see it and like reflect off of it and it gets sorted correctly into a recycle bin. Wow. No one cares about that. We just, you know, it's just cost. So
Robert Peterson 53:45
Well, yeah. Well, I appreciate I appreciate that. You have principles and that you're honoring those principles. And thank you and I hope that the consumers listening are are saying, okay, that that makes a difference to me. And I appreciate a company that's, that's for men by men and cares a little bit more about the planet than, than the average company and they care about American employees, and they're keeping manufacturing here in the United States. I think all of those principles cost you and I think living by those principles, despite the expense is, is honorable, and so I definitely appreciate that for you. Alright, so typically, we ended episode with a with entrepreneurs sharing their words of wisdom. So Kelly, what would you share?
Kelley Thornton 54:34
You know, I think I think 75% of being entrepreneurs just really hard work. You know, like 35% of its being honest and doing the right thing live in a principle life and the rest of it, whatever that comes down to 15% is probably, you know, probably just a dog fight. So, if you want to live that life, I strongly suggest anybody that's got an entrepreneur Inkling dig Get out there and get after it. And if you need any advice, or if there's any way I can help you look me up on LinkedIn, I'd be glad to talk to you. We also have a great 30% off offer for anybody that's listening to this that wants to be, they want to have skincare as part of their healthy journey as a guy. You know, it's it's add value to entrepreneurs. And number two, it's teach.com. add value to entrepreneurs. And we have a 30% off coupon for any of your listeners and whether or not it's our products or someone else's products, make sure you use a moisturizer every day with an SPF. Keep your keep your melanoma off your skin and live your best life.
Robert Peterson 55:45
Kelly, thank you so much for sharing with us. Thank you for being the man that you are and the father that you are. And I appreciate that reflecting in the work that
Kelley Thornton 55:54
you're doing. Thank you very much. Thanks for having me on your show. This
Robert Peterson 55:58
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