David Schomer | The Ex-Famer Who Sells Amish Made Products on Amazon
In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA – David Schomer recounts how he started selling Amish products on Amazon. David is the Co-Founder of Firing The Man - A podcast for Amazon sellers and An Amazon Seller himself shares his personal journey into eCommerce.
David was born and raised in Iowa City, Iowa, on a family farm and worked as a pumpkin farmer at a very young age selling his own farm produce. In 2016 after seeing an advertisement on social media that there was an opportunity to make money selling on Amazon, David began creating his own private label brand. In a brilliant and unusual move, he was able to create a unique brand selling handmade products from the Amish community.
After selling products online for two years David joined a local Meetup Group for Amazon sellers where he eventually met Ken Wilson. They quickly became prominent members of the Meetup group and launched their own eCommerce Podcast show called Firing The Man. In this show, they document their eCommerce journey by focusing on all the ups and downs and many insights they gained as a dedication to helping the online sellers community.
Find out more about Firing The Man
Find out more about GETIDA Amazon FBA Reimbursement solutions.
Find the Full Transcript Below
Yoni Mazur 0:06
Hi, everybody, welcome to another episode of Prime Talk today I'm really excited to have a special guest. Today I'm having David Schomer. David is the co-founder of Firing the Man, which is a podcast for Amazon sellers. And David is also an Amazon seller himself. So David, welcome to the show. Thank you glad to be here. Our pleasure, really. So today's episode is really going to be all about you the story of David shomer. So you're going to share with us, you know, who are you? Where are you from? Where'd you grew up? Where did you go to school? How did you begin your professional career all the way until how you began in e-commerce. So I guess without further ado, let's jump right into it.
David Schomer 0:46
So a little bit about myself, I grew up in Iowa City, Iowa. And my family had a little acre john on the outskirts of town. And I've got four younger brothers. So five boys, my family. And we grew up with a family farm. And so I would say some of my like, earliest entrepreneurial ventures happened on that farm. And one that is Of particular note is a pumpkin patch. me my brothers had a big pumpkin patch that we grew, we started with about a half acre and we grew it to about five acres, and we're selling several 1000 pumpkins a year. And I started that when I was probably like 11 years old. And I loved it. I loved it.
Yoni Mazur 1:32
And so far, mostly focus on pumpkin or what was kind of the crops you guys focused on throughout the years.
David Schomer 1:36
So traditionally, we would have corn and beans. And but my dad would kind of give us some land, that we could plant whatever. And so we planted sweet corn, which is like the corn that you would eat it at a table as well as pumpkins and, and so from very early on, I knew that I liked business. And it's something that's like, hard to explain, but I just like it.
Yoni Mazur 2:00
But would you sell it to you, or what was the Alfredo to cash in on the crop.
David Schomer 2:05
So here's the key about pumpkins is people like to pick their own. And so it really ends up being less work, what we had, and believe it or not, we had a coffee can where people would put their money, and we weren't down there all the time. But people would just come and pick their pumpkin and put their money in the jar. And then they move on. And a lot of people, a lot of people ask, like, did you ever get ripped off and I can count on one hand, how many people may have taken a pumpkin without paying but it was, you know, people were honest in that part of the country. And I would say for the most part. I feel like people are generally good. There's a couple of outlier and they tend to be on the news. But yeah, so that's a little bit about like Asia you know, up until 11 I went to a small High School and then
Yoni Mazur 3:01
I got out sorry to cut you off on this Oh, what was your marketing? How did they know you have a field and they can come You know, pick up their own pumpkins? What were the marketing pros there?
David Schomer 3:14
Yeah, so we had just a sign and we lived along like a highway that had quite a bit of traffic. So we just put up a sign. And then on the for corn, this was probably like my first dabbling in marketing. We had a happy hour where if you think of corn like that you buy at a store you have to shuck it, like take the husk off. And so we had a happy hour if you came in bought corn between 430 and 530, we would husk it for you for free. And, and we marketed as the corn happy hour. And we would have quite a few people come in during that period of time and it was nice to chat with them while we were shucking their corn and, and but that was really all of our marketing mostly word of mouth.
Yoni Mazur 4:01
That is so beautiful. I've never heard such early dabbling into business in farming. You know, I don't think I've ever met. So I’m quite honored to learn this about you. It's really charming, I would say you know, it's the old traditional business world. We're gonna touch eventually the e-commerce world which is the new e-commerce, you know, the world of commerce and digital commerce. So it's I think I find it to be astonishing, amazing that you're going to bridge that gap between you know, agriculture land, you know, there's a high there's a highway you know, you feed off the traffic, you build a business and you feed off of digital traffic. But once again, I don't want to jump the gun Alright, so I love it. You're 11 years old, you ever get it from pumpkins into corn. You did a happy hour dabble into marketing. What was the next station?
David Schomer 4:47
You know, I would say that that lasted up until high school and And like I mentioned I had four younger brothers. So we all worked on this project together. While I was in high school, I had the opportunity to Go work for a small independent business. It was a medical store. So they sold wheelchairs, walkers, C, pap machines, all kinds of stuff. And that was owned by a guy by the name of Jim Nolan. And I would say he was my first business mentor. And he really took me under his wing, you know, I started in the back in the warehouse, you know, cutting up boxes and putting things away. But then he let me come upfront and start interacting with customers and, and I worked there for about six years, throughout high school, and then on and off while I was in college. And that was when I got the taste of what it looks like to work for yourself. And, you know, the jam was, you know, he was an independent businessman when he wanted to go home, he went home, when he wanted to go on vacation, he went on vacation, and I didn't realize it at the time, but, but that really kind of planted the seed of, of wanting freedom, and, and wanting to make my own decisions and not be tied down by the man.
Yoni Mazur 6:08
Give us some perspective on the years, what were the years that you worked for Jim.
David Schomer 6:13
So that would have been like, 2005, through 2011 was when I was working for him. And, and that was great. I mean, just an awesome experience. And, you know, I think that mentorship, you can read all kinds of business books, but having one mentor or two mentors take you under their wing. That's huge. It's absolutely huge. And I think that you know, we, as business people have a responsibility, once we're on the other side, and we have found some success, it's time to take some people under your wing, and show him how to do it. And I've done that personally, through the podcast, which we'll get to in a little bit. But, you know, I found that incredibly rewarding. And, and I, anyway, it's just this the core concept of mentoring, I can't emphasize how important that has been in my life.
Yoni Mazur 7:06
Now, the impact seems like it was tremendous for you and you will feel the impulse to, you know, push it forward, which is amazing. Well, we'll get to that very quickly. But, um, you said 2005, until 2011, to 2008 2009, there was a kind of a big recession that did affect Jim's story in anyway or form.
David Schomer 7:27
I don't recall, not at all it was, it was recession-proof. Um, you know, if somebody needs a wheelchair, they're going to go get a wheelchair. And so that was in most of that was done through insurance, and really didn't see any, any major setbacks there. But it was interesting living through those people on both sides of this store, went out of business, one sold hot tubs, and one sold flooring for new construction houses.
Yoni Mazur 7:54
And what was the location, a commercial center, it was just a, on the highway somewhere?
David Schomer 8:00
Yeah, it was a commercial center. And so that was really interesting, because, you know, over time you develop relationships with your neighbors, right. And in seeing the hot tub business, go out of business, was really eye-opening. And that was, you know, you can read about recession-proof businesses, and, but when you experience that, when you know, somebody that that is selling something that, you know, isn't a need, it's a want, and you see them go out of business, it really registers with you that, you know, if I'm starting a business, I need to think about how it will be impacted by the economy. Right. And, and, you know, there are certain businesses that that are more swayed by how the economy is doing and being in that recession-proof business, in looking to my left and right and seeing the neighbors going out of business really had a large impact on me.
Yoni Mazur 8:57
So your Yeah, the awareness at least as even as an employee, then not otherwise the business by directly gets business-oriented, because you get you got the mentorship from my gym, and settled with you that you know, you're likely to be on the right side of the coin, economically speaking, in terms of the industry that you're in selling in medical devices. Alright, that is, this is impressive. You know, experiencing experience for you at a young age, but you mentioned you went to school. So what was the dynamic in terms of school? What are the years you went to school? Where'd you go to school?
David Schomer 9:26
Yes, so in 2000 would have been 2009. I went to St. Louis University and growing up in Iowa. I didn't grow up in a small small town but it was smaller.
Yoni Mazur 9:40
Iowa falls, right. It was a city.. And then how large is the city or what's the population there for so we have an idea of New Yorkers.
David Schomer 9:47
Yeah, so about 100,000 and so, um, you know, I looked at Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Louis. They were all about four hours away from my hometown, and I wanted to, you know, see what big city life was like. And really like St. Louis University and the campus and everything about it, they had a great business school. And so that's where I ended up going. And, I always knew I liked business, but I didn't really know, they had an entrepreneurship major, they had a management major, but I settled in with accounting and finance. And if I'm being honest with you, and, and I'll share this with you, because I, it's just a lesson learned. But when I was picking my majors, I googled what business major makes the most money. And it was a tie between accounting and finance. And, and so I couldn't decide I liked both of them. So I just double majored in accounting and finance. And that is suited me well. But I would share with people that that is not a great criteria for determining what your major is, it is worked for me. But I think you need to dig a little deeper and think about what you're passionate about. Because, you know, it's on this Google result, marketing wasn't at the top of the list. However, if you're passionate about marketing, you can make tons of money doing it. Right. And great 100%. And so, um, but I, I landed on accounting and finance. And you know, at this time, and I'm not sure if there's the university setting or what it was, but had kind of abandoned this dream of having my own business, and wanted to go work for an audit firm and just learn more about business. And at the time, a lot of the professors pushed for they call it the Big Four firms.
Yoni Mazur 11:45
So that'd be like, the Lloyd, the stuff I got by KPMG. And what am I missing? A PwC prize? All right, we're in the auditing business also. So it's my duty to kind of know, the Big Four.
David Schomer 11:58
Exactly, yes. So yeah, you named the Big Four, I'm impressed. So that was kind of like I had made a pivot and decided that that's what I wanted to do. And so I, in my junior year, started interviewing. And most of the Big Four firms said, you know, come back your senior year, and I got an internship at a middle-market consulting firm. They did mergers and acquisitions, business valuation, litigation, support forensic accounting. And during that period of time, I worked on a Ponzi scheme case. like Bernie Madoff, what you see on the news, it was a big case, and I loved it. And that happened when he started working on that case, or I started working for the firm.
Yoni Mazur 12:45
The middle market firm?
David Schomer 12:50
So that would have been 2012 was when I was working...
Yoni Mazur 12:56
For no longer in Iowa, no longer in the medical devices, you're in the auditing world. And if I didn't know the accounting and finance world, and you're auditing a Ponzi scheme, what would you find there?
David Schomer 13:08
Yeah, we found about $25 million that just disappeared. And I loved that process of following the cash. And seeing where it all went, was like putting a puzzle together.
Yoni Mazur 13:21
If you don't mind sharing a little bit of the scheme. Not that I want to give anybody ideas, actually, it's more like a warning sign, don’t play around. But what was the scheme as far as I remember it?
David Schomer 13:27
Yes. So it was you would invest with this particular entity, they would promise you huge returns, but they would not pay out your returns for six to 12 months. And, and these returns were higher than you could get anywhere else in the market. And so the people that got in on it early actually benefited in the long term but when these payments came due in six to 12 months, the only way to fund this operation would be to go out and find more clients. And so so this entity would go out and find more clients take their money, promise them huge returns and take that invested capital and give it to the shareholders that they had made promises to six to 12 months prior. And really that always crumbles like there's not a good outcome there.
Yoni Mazur 14:23
This is exactly what happened about 10 years ago with made off the same idea you promise chunky returns to high profile investors you know at the beginning was legit actually, but then as he started to bend, you know the rules a little bit and you know, cover-up he was able to do for so long, he has so much prestige because he was ahead of the NASDAQ. You know when he peaked so I know the NASDAQ has gone, you know, obviously the best investor in the world. He is the NASDAQ he is investment right. But so we capitalize on that by you know exactly the model you mentioned where, you know, the new money pays for the old money As long as there's enough new, new money coming in. To cover for the old, everything works out. But once there's a shortage, and there's a bus, everybody, everything crumbles. That's what happened, I believe 2008 2009 and that when the market really came down, and the weaknesses of many financial firms were exposed, so high level that's happened to the largest in the world, I believe that the scope there was about 50 billion, and your case you do 25 million, which is also very impressive. Wow, that's quite an experience. Now, what was the next station afterward? Would you say?
David Schomer 15:27
So keep in mind, this was not my dream internship, this was not big for an internship, this was something that I thought I put on my resume. And that would help me get a big four internship. And it did the following summer, I got an internship at KPMG, which is one of the big four firms. This is what I have been working for for the last three or four years. And KPMG is a great firm. There are fantastic people that work there. But I didn't have that same feeling that I had the prior summer working on this Ponzi scheme. We were doing audits and I just again, I don't want to speak poorly about that firm, because it's an excellent firm. But when it came to just trust my gut and thinking about what's the best fit, this middle-market consulting firm was the spot for me. And, you know, I remember talking to a couple of professors and saying, you know, I really liked this job I had last summer and I'm not crazy about you to know, my job at KPMG. What should I do? And most of them said You're an idiot if you turn down this KPMG offer for a full-time job.
Yoni Mazur 16:35
So the professors were saying
David Schomer 16:37
they were they weren't and in you know, it's, it was at that time a prestigious position. It's a very big, firm, very respected worldwide. And, you know, outside of St. Louis, there's only a couple of other markets that this middle-market consulting firm is well known in.
Yoni Mazur 16:55
So all I used it, he stayed in St. Louis, that's where you settled eventually? Correct. Correct. So after your internship, you settled with KPMG, but still in St. Louis, Missouri, right?
David Schomer 17:05
Yep. Still, it's still in St. Louis, Missouri, and ended up when it was time to join the workforce full time went back to companies called Reuben Brown, and they are a middle-market consulting company. And I've had just a tremendous experience there since I've been there for about seven and a half years. And it has been
Yoni Mazur 17:27
since What 2012? Half of the men are in 2013. Yes, yes. Yeah. So basically, you pivoted you started as an intern, you jumped into KPMG after school, you know, you got your feet wet a little bit just to realize that you like the former. And the better. So you jumped right back into what was the name again? Reuben Brown, Reuben Brown, and yeah, you're still there, by the way.
David Schomer 17:48
I am. I am. And so that's a that's something that it comes up on on the podcast and we can go ahead and address it here. I am involved in e-commerce I have been for about four years. And that's it started as a hobby. Just I wanted to earn a little cash on the side. And like I mentioned at the beginning of the interview, I just like business and so you know, there are some people after work, they will binge-watch Game of Thrones, and that's fine. However, I love business and I work on my business when I'm done with work and I also carve off you know about two and a half hours every morning where I'm working on my business.
Yoni Mazur 18:37
And so that has you covered in the morning you do the regular job during the day and night time you keep carving more hours into the business.
David Schomer 18:43
Yeah, so that's one advantage of growing up on a farm is you discipline my friends. Yeah. You learn to wake up early and wake up at four o'clock.
Yoni Mazur 18:53
Really? I want them to go to sleep at nine o'clock Wow, cool man give it to you a good job.
David Schomer 19:01
So there's a saying Early to bed early to rise makes you strong wealthy and wise and I truly believe that sleep is a good thing definitely but you know you got to adjust for that when you go to bed.
Yoni Mazur 19:15
It's kind of almost like a job nine to five nine to four but I reversed in terms of going to sleep you clock into your bed. You get out and then you are you do your own business and a full-time job. Very, very unique position. Yeah, I think I really connected the values that you early on grab from farming, you know, the early rise the soil, the toil, the thing is so powerful that nobody can take it away. And you can you know, working in the professional world seems to probably to this point, like a kids game. Because you know, you're just my guy now you unsend all the numbers and, you know, granted and crunch it even more in an industry skill is so much easier than you know, using the 10 fingers to do all that brand work plus all that kind of work. It's probably relieving to some degree. So I guess you have probably had that burned that you know, edge inside saying I can do so much more I know I can do more, I think you probably have that mentality or that thrust. I think it's, it's proving yourself because you're doing in the morning job and then an evening, only grit and passion and fire and flame can justify such discipline, you know? Okay, so seven and a half years and your current job and you focus on auditing and finance or what's your date, time specialty, and we then will touch your, your business specialty. And I especially want to dive into I guess the constant finding the man what stands behind it, but before we dive into the, you know, the stuff or the stall, and the soloist do stuff that pays the bread.
David Schomer 20:41
Yeah, so um, I primarily focused on mergers and acquisitions, forensic accounting, and litigation support. And so I, when I finished up with school, I went ahead and took the CPA exam. And as well as taking the CFA exam, Chartered Financial Analyst, and that was about four years of testing between those two exams and, and really set me up well for a career in consulting in the world that I operate in. And so that's how I've been spending my time and, and one thing that I'll point out is, you know, when people talk about what they get from their job, often they're talking about their paycheck, right, the cash going into their account. But what I would remind people is that, oftentimes, you can pick up very marketable skills while on the job. And so that's one reason that I've continued to stay on. Even as my e-commerce business, it has a clip seven figures is that I am learning, I am building out my network. And all of those things helped me in my e-commerce business.
Yoni Mazur 21:52
And, you know, give me a few, I guess, skills, people, you know, most people probably get in their job, but they don't, you know, appreciate enough or they underutilized. Give us a few examples that you're aware of.
David Schomer 22:03
So, you know, I would say my own personal life, I would love to buy a company at some point. And I think about growing and expanding my existing platform. I read this book called By Then Built by Walker Diepel, which is an excellent read, it makes a quantitative case for not starting a business but actually buying an existing business.
Yoni Mazur 22:22
Book by and Bill by who, by then built by Walker, Walker diable. How do you spell that?
David Schomer 22:29
Well, you know, die, p, e. l. It will change the way you think about starting a business. And so anyway, that is something you know, I have had the opportunity to work on probably 50, mergers and acquisition projects. So when it comes time to buy my own business, hey, I've got some experience there.
Yoni Mazur 22:51
Turnkey for you. That's a great example.
David Schomer 22:53
And so, um, but you know, I would say that that's a very specific example, but just being involved in a successful organization, just seeing how they do things, what how do the leaders How do they approach the staff? You know, how does a company have core values? How does that play in and so I really like my company, and the people that I work for, and I'm learning a tremendous amount? And so I've said, from day one, the moment I stopped learning, I'm out, and that hasn't happened yet. And so I think at some point, and I think at some point, in the future, I'm not sure when that's going to be I will be doing e-commerce full time. But, you know, this part-time capacity has forced me to be efficient, right? When you've got two and a half hours every morning, to work on a business, you get very good at building out processes, and in spelling things out, that is repeatable, and that you can carve off to a VA.
Yoni Mazur 24:03
So, let's know you delve into that. So it will take us to the framework, right? We got four years ago by 2016. You basically had the entrepreneurial bug and it takes you into the world of e-commerce So talk to us about that entrance into the e-commerce and you know, that journey.
David Schomer 24:20
Yes, so I think it was probably a Facebook ad or something. I don't think it was someone selling a course, but they just talked about buying something on Amazon. And how it was easy to sell on Amazon and I started thinking about, you know, if, if e-commerce was a stock, I would buy it now. That was what I was thinking four years ago. You know, at that time, and even more so now. People are glued to their cell phones, I mean, absolutely glued to their cell phones and social media and there have been a lot of movies that have come out lately that have kind of highlighted this but you see brick and mortar retail stores, crumbling in it and so just looking at that general trend, it kind of stuck out as something that would be attractive to me. And then I learned about FBA and, you know learned that I didn't need to, you know be shipping out orders every day to eBay guys.
Yoni Mazur 25:17
If you have enough to familiar with the acronym is Fulfillment by Amazon Amazon has a fulfillment network or infrastructure that many sellers, Amazon sellers do adapt so this is what appeals to David at this point.
David Schomer 25:29
Yeah, absolutely. And so um, I knew, and this kind of goes back to my roots growing up in Iowa but I, I grew up in a community with a lot of Amish people. And if you're not familiar with Amish folks, there is a type of religion that I would say more primitive in that, that no electricity, no internet, is very kind of old-fashioned in the way that they do things. They are tremendous people like in terms of just like, hard-working salt of the earth, like uncorrupted really, by news and technology, just fantastic people. And in I knew a family that made leather products. And, and I knew that they weren't selling those leather products online.
Yoni Mazur 26:23
Because they didn't know what kind of other garments they were?
David Schomer 26:26
They were selling horse halters. And they were. So that would be something that you put on a horse when you're writing it. So you can steer it left or right.
Yoni Mazur 26:36
You got us on it's basically on its face and neck, right. And again, it's nagging then able to have those, those sexual those, those strings that you can basically leather string that you can, you know, turn to the right to the left. That's it. So basically steering wheels for horses made it over leather.
David Schomer 26:52
Exactly, exactly. That's wild. And so they had been making these for everyone in their community for a really long time. And they were beautiful. When you look at them, you just think like high-end designer leather. And so I started thinking of all the other products that you can make out of leather. And I approached this, this family and said, Hey, here's, here's what I'm thinking, you know what, I came to them with a list of ideas, and they build a couple of samples. And they looked great. And so I've partnered up with them. And that alone has been an experience in and of itself.
Yoni Mazur 27:31
And you brought the Amish into e-commerce Are you kidding me? That's, that's one of the wildest things ever heard on a good note. That's amazing.
David Schomer 27:39
I think you'll like this story. So when I first started, I said, they do have generators, so they can get electricity. And so I propose to this family, could I buy you a computer and pay for your internet? That way? I can. I can just send you orders. And then you know, you'll have it.
Yoni Mazur 28:03
Right, you're fulfilled, right? Like they ship them?
David Schomer 28:06
Yeah. So then they would ship them to fulfillment centers and it would kind of operate like a normal e-commerce business.
Yoni Mazur 28:11
So they're essentially the factory, right? They're the wholesaler if you like. And so you know, you source on them. You throw in, you create an Amazon FBA shipment fulfilled by Amazon shipment where you want to ship your products into the fulfillment centers and sell it from there. And that's how you position it. So they ship it straight into Amazon's fulfillment center as a supplier.
David Schomer 28:29
Yes, that was my goal. But prior to this, I had been I’d mail them a letter. And then about a week or week and a half later, I'd get a letter back. And so that's how we were communicating because we lived about 400 miles apart. This is great. So I said, Can you can I pay for your internet and a computer that way? We don't have to write each other letters anymore. I can just email you. And they said, Yeah, we're okay with that. But you need to get it proof from our Bishop. And so I drove up to this town I drove 400 miles and I had a meeting where's this is in Iowa. This is in Iowa, Iowa City area or Colonna is the tailor.
Yoni Mazur 29:10
This is where you grew up like this around your area. That's how the initial relationship started?
David Schomer 29:16
Yes, yes. And I knew this family for probably the last decade. So prior to this, and so, um, so I went up, I had this meeting with the bishop, and, and I said, you know, this will bring some money into your community. This will help this individual family out by, you know, they'll manufacture I'll pay them a good price for what they're making. And then, instead of just selling within the Amish community, I'll go out and sell it on the internet. And he grabbed me like imagine the old school movies. He grabbed me by the shirt and he pulled me in and he said, Get out of my town and never come back. And I thought he was going to punch me. I mean, he like cult-like he was very firm. in,, in hindsight, I kind of think, you know, shame on me for not respecting their culture and how they go about doing things. I just was not thinking about that when I had this meeting with the bishop. And so anyway, this was not received well, I was unable to buy them a computer. But I was walking out to my truck. And there was a lady, an older lady getting her mail. So I started talking to her
Yoni Mazur 30:32
Amish lady, no Catholic, Catholic.
David Schomer 30:35
That's important here. Okay. And so what I did was I bought her a computer, and I pay for her internet. And when I have an order, she prints it off and walks across the street.
Yoni Mazur 30:47
Wow, that's so I mean, it cost serendipity. I mean, what's the go for that? That's the crazy karma that just you know, most of my mind so on the way out, you know, from the disappointment, you know, Catholic lady was out there giving me the opportunity to connect to the Amish lady, which is, you know, they're Christian, but they're they have their own you know, customs and tradition as a cult, right or sect, I believe. It's called a wash you bridge all these words are Catholic and the and the Amish and yourself euro. What further you? Did you grow up?
David Schomer 31:19
I'm Catholic as well. So, okay, um, and so I've used this strategy as I expand my supplier base, so I've got three different Amish families that are spread out across the United States. Once I, I, like, I'll give you an example. Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Yoni Mazur 31:40
Yeah. I don't want to mention it. But yeah, that's where that's pretty much the capital city, quote, unquote, the Amish people in America, that's pretty much the probably the largest concentration of Amish community in the world, probably.
David Schomer 31:52
Exactly. So a couple of years ago, I booked a ticket and flew out there and got a rental car. Just trying, and I set aside four days just to find some Amish people, and they don't have websites, it's very hard to find them. And so I just went to where I knew they'd be, and said, Hey, do you know anybody that makes leather products? And, and, you know, just by asking around, was able to find a couple of people. So I secured that relationship in terms of manufacturer or...
Yoni Mazur 32:21
Was it set up in Lancaster, again, you find a local neighbor that's willing to have a computer and print the orders. And
David Schomer 32:27
I put an ad in the Catholic Church's newsletter.
Yoni Mazur 32:31
So this is the model, I mean, reach it to the Catholics. This is the model, this is the model.
David Schomer 32:36
And in bouncing, and so on, the deal is I pay for their internet, I buy a computer and a printer. And once a week, they need to make a delivery where they print a piece of paper off and take it to my supplier. And they
Yoni Mazur 32:48
get paid for that. Or they just, you know, just cover the computer engineer and they're happy with it just to help out as
David Schomer 32:54
for the lady who just walked across the street, I just pay for internet for people that are driving like across town. I pay them in additional ways that opportunity.
Yoni Mazur 33:05
Yeah, the opportunity for a typical little bit of income. That's good. So you know, strange business model?
David Schomer 33:08
Definitely. But I do think that you know, I could have stopped when that Bishop said, Get out of my town and never come back. And I don't know, I am again.
Yoni Mazur 33:24
By the way afterward...
David Schomer 33:25
I haven't. And I actually have you know, I was embarrassed about just kind of that whole situation I had. I have not been back to the town. I have respected his wishes.
Yoni Mazur 33:39
But that was a kid that set up with the Catholic, you know, a lady helping out? How are you? How are you know, he was okay with it. Because the family said we can do it because they’ve simply you know, you know, continued on and fulfilling the orders.
David Schomer 33:52
Yeah, yeah. And we had written some letters back and forth, just confirming that this situation would work out. And so, you know, I think that that has been, it's been a great relationship. And it's been one that's been going on for four years. And so I love it.
Yoni Mazur 34:06
I think it's so special, so unique. It's charming, you know, for lack of a better word, and the touches back to that trauma of the farm. There's something about your ability to bring the old world industry is the old world trade into the modern world. It's a this is a repetitive component that I can, you know, immediately identify with setting up the Amish people of all sourcing opportunities that you have in the modern world, you went to one of the most ancient, I guess, you know, that's still existing, right? It's not like you went to Egypt, because these cultures are no longer there. You went to a culture that's still around, and you're creating an economical opportunity, which is we should pitch it to the president or something. Some sort of a, you know, make sure that every Amish community has this opportunity one way or another. So you can scale up if you were to skill, a wanting to scale your brand, but Okay, take us to the e-commerce story. So yeah, this sourcing, you know, business, my business, depending on the sourcing and sales was growing was booming, what was an actual story on the marketplace.
David Schomer 35:11
You know, at one point, I would say probably two years in this turn from a hobby into something that I took very seriously and treated it like a, like a true business. And at that point in time, I wanted to build out my network, I would say like, e-commerce generally can be kind of lonely. You can spend a lot of time behind a screen and not interact with a lot of people. And so I went up to meetup.com. And I started the St. Louis e-commerce meetup. And prior to COVID, we would meet at this, it was a bar and grill, we'd meet there once a week. And, you know, the first meeting maybe had two or three people, but that slowly grew into an organization of like, 200. And I think there are like 220 members now. And that is something that I would encourage anybody to do.
Yoni Mazur 36:07
Who is a community leader, you want to give a shout-out?
David Schomer 36:10
In terms of the meetup...
Yoni Mazur 36:11
I usually it's like a little committee that develops and usually, there's one or maybe a few that arrange the meetups, the meetings. Yeah. So that would be me. So I took the position. Oh, yeah. So I organize David Chalmers, oh.
David Schomer 36:23
So I would say, if you don't have something like this in your area, it is easy to start one. And, you know, if I, if I think back to some networking events that I've been to, sometimes they're kind of awkward, sometimes. But what I'll tell you is, if you start one, people just generally like, come and talk to you. And it kind of like, eliminates that, that awkwardness. And so I've gotten much better at networking since starting that, but I, you know, met a lot of people and realize that you know, there's a lot of people in my area that are doing this. And so, you know, on our my own podcast, I always say like, if you want to do something, the best way to do it is find someone who has also done it and asks them how they've done it. And so I made some great relationships there. And one person, in particular, was Ken Wilson, and he is the co-host of the firing demand podcast. And Ken he networks engineer is his background. And I don't know, just right away, we hit it off.
Yoni Mazur 37:28
And the form that you guys met was during the meetups?
David Schomer 37:32
Yeah, yep. Yep. And he had a business that was his clearly wasn't a hobby, he took it very seriously. And he had a plan to exit his job and do it full time. And, and we had very complementary skill sets, I the accounting and finance background. And he was a network engineer really understands digital marking, building websites, just a very complementary skill set. And so we found ourselves getting together once a week. And, you know, we get a beer, and we talked about e-commerce.
Yoni Mazur 38:06
Where you get a beer at the meetup? So after the meetup, so you have the meetups or management, and, you know, everybody kind of, you know, joins log every week, and everybody interacts as a group. But then, in addition to that, another layer where you guys, you know, kept a meeting.
David Schomer 38:19
Yeah, yeah, we, you know, go grab lunch, he'd come over to my house, I go over to his house, we just, you know, I, he was very passionate about learning and developing and getting better. And, as was I. And so we, we both kinds of had that hunger to just get better to, you know, take this from a side hustle to top-performing business. And in so, you know, after about a year of just getting together, we decided to form a podcast, and we call that firing demand.
Yoni Mazur 38:55
And you know, what year did you start that?
David Schomer 38:58
So we're coming up on our one-year anniversary, so our first episode birthday, thank you. Thank you. And we've been, we do one episode per week. And we talk about all things e-commerce. And I would say it's generally catered to people that are either getting into e-commerce or kind of like, intermediate e-commerce, skill level.
Yoni Mazur 39:22
And so what's the reason for the name give us let's talk a little bit about the name. It seems like there's a purpose they're firing the man. Yeah,
David Schomer 39:28
yeah. So um, you know, in this the kind of like, go back to answer this, I'm going to go back to a conversation that Ken and I had, we had a spreadsheet with a bunch of names that we had thought of, and we wanted it to be ecommerce centric. And you know, we both really liked firing the man and, and I remember a conversation where I said, you know, can we both have full time jobs? You know, are we like, kind of like posers right? Like, are we and in Ken said, No, you know, we are in the process of firing the man. And let's, let's bring people with us in and tell him how we do it. And so, you know, six months into that podcast, Ken did, he fired the man. And it?
Yoni Mazur 40:17
Obviously, whoever's listening, firing the man basically means we know where you work for an organization usually have a boss, also known as the man, if you fire the man, basically, it's actually it's a, it's in reverse, you actually quit. And by doing that you find your boss, because you're taking the Euro, you know, your freedom is doing something else. Is that kind of the nuance of things?
David Schomer 40:36
Exactly. And I'm glad that you explain that I kind of gloss over that, and I shouldn't. But so anyway, six months into this podcast can quit his full-time job, and he starts doing e-commerce full time. And we did a bunch of episodes documenting that, you know, you know, what was he doing? Like, what was his plan, I can tell you that he had alike, list of objectives that he wanted to hit before he quit his job. And it was very fun to just kind of document this. And, you know, we were very transparent in that we talked about the mistakes that we make. And trust me, there are plenty of them. But I think that our audience is really resonated with that because most of them do have jobs in their goal, some of them may be to quit that full-time job and do something else full time. And so that's kind of the starting point for our podcast. And what I'll say is, it has been, it is exceeded my expectations by a factor of 10. In terms of, you know, who we've got to meet, you know, engaging with our audience just kind of networking in this e-commerce space, it's, it's been wonderful. And so, you know, our plan is to continue to grow and put out good content. But, you know, we try to be as authentic as possible, and we're not really selling anything, you know, we just, we'd like to talk about e-commerce. And, and by having an episode once a week, it forces us to become experts at, you know, the topics that we're discussing.
Yoni Mazur 42:16
That's great. I love it. Yeah, so I mean, just to capitalize on the whole structure here. So, around 2005 right, I want to do a real quick recap of what we have so far. Right? So 2005 you what was the first station again, so school 2005, we started working for, you know, the medical devices, storefront retail, and then a little stint as a younger man, you know, selling, you know, agricultural products, you know, the pumpkins and the corn, and around 2011 you know, after school, you kind of pivot into the business world, and you start working for an internship, and then you flipped into KPMG, and then you settle them to the job where you're right now, basically involved in audit and finance, m&a, and around 2016 decided, alright, I want to, you know, I see on social media, an ad for e-commerce and you know, you had a strong urge to connect into e-commerce because you believe that this is the ecosystem that is driving and there's a lot of opportunities there. So you, in order to seize that opportunity, you refer back to, to Iowa, you know, your hometown or your own state, and, you know, your recollection of Amish community making now these leather products for, for horses to steer them, and then you initiate you, you know, take action by you know, approaching reaching out and pitching to see if this can be structured, you go meet the pasture, you get slammed, but right away, you pick it up by utilizing a, you know, the neighbor that Catholica, you know, lady, and you build a business model, or that you're already doing it for four years. But after two years, you realize that you know, you want to grow more in that position, and your capacity to have your own business. So you go to meetup.com, right, you start opening yourself upright to the community. And we discover very quickly from two-three people in those meetings, that 200 200 Plus, right, so you got 100x kind of a component in terms of growth, without community realizing there's so much around me that is involved with this industry is so so robust and thriving. And that brought the opportunity for you to meet Ken, where's your partner today in the podcast, where you guys are documenting, you know, the journey of the both you already one of you guys already fired the man, hopefully, you'll be there. When you're ready. I don't want to say as soon as possible when you're ready, because everything comes in good time. And by doing that, you're you know, you're expanding more and more your horizons and, and you're drilling down your ability to really understand the marketplace, what's going on. Right? You know, becoming really an expert in the field because you have so much variety of components and the sellers need to be aware of, and you bring all these guests into the show, to share with those components. And by you know, doing that effectively you guys swallow and immerse yourself with all this knowledge and All this ability to understand what's going on. So hopefully increase enhances your skills, so you can do for your business. But of course, you know, by doing that and in a recording and recording it and then sharing it with everybody you're fertilizing the industry that you're committed to, which is e-commerce so that I can I embody correctly, you know, the story of David Chalmers the past almost two decades.
David Schomer 45:22
Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. That that recaps my journey. And it's certainly been a windy path, but I'm really happy with where I'm at right now, and, and really excited for what the future brings. And I'm sure it will also be a windy path. But looking forward to it.
Yoni Mazur 45:37
Yeah, I mean, for you. I mean, I'm so impressed by the way you calibrated things. For me personally, it'll be very interesting to stay in touch with you and and also with Ken, to see how you guys evolve over time. And hopefully, you guys will blow it out of the water and anything that you touch. And that being said, You know, I want to thank you for sharing the whole story. And I miss you and Ken, much tremendous success with everything you guys do. So this is kind of the body of what we have for this episode. But now I want to send it off by two components. The first will be that if anybody wants to, you know, everybody wants to reach out to David and to yourself and Marino learn more, and engage with you. Where can they find you? And lastly, it would be your message of hope and inspirations for entrepreneurs listening out there.
David Schomer 46:18
Yes. So to address your first question, you can email me at David at firing the man.com. Also follow firing the man on Instagram and Facebook. And in terms of the message of inspiration. I don't know where I heard this. But this is not an original thought. It's called the vacuum the car principle. And it kind of says that, if you were to give somebody a car and say, hey, go sell this, a group of people would say, I don't know how to sell a car, I've never sold a car before. I don't know how to do it. And that would be it. they'd stop there. And then there would be a group of people that would say, I don't know how to sell a car, I've never done it. But I know I need to vacuum it. That's one thing that I'm going to have to do before I sell the car. And I know how to vacuum. In fact, I have a vacuum. And in so as that relates to e-commerce. Anytime you're getting into something new, you don't know everything right? And, and you probably don't have the relevant experience that you need. But take what you do have intake a step forward, you know, vacuum the car, and then you can't figure it out later. But I hear so many people say, you know, Oh, I'd love to own my own business. I'd love you to know, I've got this great idea. And then you talk to him five years later, and they still have that same story and they haven't taken action. And so that's one thing that we encourage everybody to do on the podcast is take action. And you know, you probably aren't going to become a millionaire overnight. Your regardless of what the gurus on YouTube said. But, you know, taking that first step is the most important step.
Yoni Mazur 48:03
Amazing. David, thank you so much. It's been a pleasure. Thank you, everybody, for listening. Until next time, take care. All right. Thank you.