Ryan Gnesin | From Selling Commodities to Selling on Amazon
In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA, Ryan Gnesin, Founder & CEO of Elevate Brands discusses his experience from selling commodities to selling on Amazon. Ryan's an Amazon Brand Acquirer/consolidator and shares his personal journey into eCommerce.
Starting an e-commerce business has lots of ups and downs. There is so much to learn in order to become successful in a marketplace that many people are trying to take advantage of right now. Yoni Mazor from PrimeTalk discusses growing your Amazon business into a more successful and profitable brand.
In today’s interview, PrimeTalk chats with Ryan Gnesin, founder and CEO of Elevate Brands (formerly Recon Brands), a friendly and collaborative company that acquires successful FBA brands from Amazon and elevates them into category leaders. Elevate Brands is also within the top 1% of Amazon sellers by size.
Ryan Gnesin tells us about his interesting life journey from the insurance industry to commodity trading to brand acquirer and consolidator. If you are an Amazon seller and are curious about the steps to take to get your brand more successful, then this episode is for you!
Visit Evaluate Brands for more information.
Learn about GETIDA's Amazon FBA reimbursement solutions.
Find the full transcript below
Yoni Mazor 0:09
Hi everybody, welcome to another episode of PrimeTalk. Today I have a special guest, and I'm having Ryan Gnesin. Ryan is the founder and CEO of Elevate Brands, which is an Amazon brand acquirer and consolidator. So Ryan, welcome to the show.
Ryan Gnesin 0:20
Thanks very much, Yoni, great to be with you, man. I'm putting my Elevate Brands hat on here because we're rebranding the company from Recon Brands to Elevate this week. So we're very excited about the new...the new launch and great to be with you and thank you.
Yoni Mazor 0:35
Awesome, thank you for taking the time, truly appreciated. Yeah, so, this episode is really going to be all about you: the story of Ryan Gnesin. So you're going to share with us, you know, who are you, where are you from, where were you born? Where'd you grow up, where'd you go to school? How’d you begin your professional career, how you ended up in E-commerce, so I guess, without further ado, let's jump right into it.
Ryan Gnesin 1:16
Oh you wanna start from the? Ok cool. I was born..Ok so cool. I was born in South Africa, Johannesburg. You know, I have a pretty standard upbringing right? I mean, I had a great family life and, you know, wonderful parents, brother and sister. My brother actually works with me in the company, he’s 10 months older than I am. And so we were very, very close. You know, we like to say there was no TV in those so there's nothing else to do right? So, my brother, my brother and I are pretty close and he works with us in the company. He, you know, he lived for 10 years in China, so he sorta speaks Mandarin and so he helps source products for us from China. And my mum also, by the way, works in the company too doing HR and customer service
Yoni Mazor 1:57
It just indicates I guess the family company connection and the family environment which is very close in production.
Ryan Gnesin 2:03
You got it. So, yeah, I grew up in South Africa, Johannesburg and I lived there till I was 14. Right.
Yoni Mazor 2:11
So, your parents - what kind of industries were they working back then in South Africa?
Ryan Gnesin 2:13
Yeah, my parents worked together their whole life. So my dad owned, uh, he was in the food business, and he had a couple of restaurant chains. First, a steakhouse and he worked with a company called Nando's is one of the early…
Yoni Mazor 2:27
Nando’s? Your father’s part of Nando’s?
Ryan Gnesin 2:29
Not anymore. I mean he was, I mean, I think he had the fourth ever Nando's store, and he was a regional director in South Africa.
Yoni Mazor 2:34
Is that like a South African chain?
Ryan Gnesin 2:35
It is. It’s a South African chain. It's a Portuguese style chicken.
Yoni Mazor 2:42
Yeah I know. I’ve seen it around. I think they had it in Israel at some point. Like a flashback. Okay, so the business restaurant business, Nando's global chain.
Ryan Gnesin 2:51
Yeah, exactly, yeah, you know, so I mean you know the dinner table discussion was often around business and customers and, you know, et cetera. So, you know, I've got sort of an early insight into entrepreneurship in a way, even though my dad was part of sort of a bigger chain for most of his career. And we lived there till I was 14, and things in South Africa, you know, we're a little unsafe and my dad was hijacked, you know, when I was sort of like…
Yoni Mazor 3:16
Your father was hijacked?
Ryan Gnesin 3:17
Dad was hijacked, you know. It was a long story, it was a Friday night but actually the whole family was there and the long story they hijacked.. My dad's brother and sister thought, my dad's two brothers and his sister were there, and they thought that he had been kidnapped in the car, because they saw the car driving out of the house. My dad's new car and they thought he was in the car. And so they, they took their guns, in those days everyone was carrying guns, they took their guns, you know, driving around Johannesburg trying to chase this car down. Meanwhile, my dad was actually safe in the house. Which was fine. So it all ended well. But it was enough to scare the family, such that within I think 12 months…
Yoni Mazor 4:00
Give us a little bit of the context, was just for I guess to expand their horizons, why was it so rough in South Africa? What year was that, that this happened, for example?
Ryan Gnesin 4:08
I mean, I mean this would have been in like the early 90s. This is like ‘94. And, you know, South Africa came out of apartheid and through the transition, which was obviously a terrible regime, you know, class and segregation of race, and, you know, like it was, it inevitably had to happen. But all of a sudden you had a huge majority of the population who now weren’t as well educated, and were angry, rightfully so. And you know we're taking it upon themselves, you know, to loot and steal
Yoni Mazor 4:48
Got it. So these layers of the society were so deprived for so many years, essentially steamed out. They were blowing out steam.
Ryan Gnesin 4:55
Correct, and listen, it was also a question of survival for many of them, right? You can’t judge, but regardless, it was unsafe. It was common practice for people to be, you know, murdered. I mean every day there was, you know, three pages of murders on there, you know, it was just terrible. Crime capital of the world at one stage, and,
Yoni Mazor 5:20
And Johannesburg is more of the business town as opposed to Cape Town?
Ryan Gnesin 5:24
Correct. So Capetown is more beautiful, Johannesburg was a sort of commerce…
Yoni Mazor 5:30
Right so Cape Town is more of a recreational, in a way, but yeah got it. So early 90s. You're 14 years old. Where’d you guys move to?
Ryan Gnesin 5:35
We moved to Sydney, Australia. Yeah.
Yoni Mazor 5:39
Wow. What was the what was a thread?
Ryan Gnesin 5:40
Well, I mean, first of all we needed, I mean, first of all we needed a place where we could get papers. I mean, like, it wasn't easy to immigrate to the US for example, we couldn't get into the US if we wanted to. Right? We tried to get into Canada, we got accepted into Canada and then we just, my dad went on a sort of recon mission to go look for a house, but he went in the middle of winter, and he came back and said, Holy shit like there's no chance I'm going to that place! Way too cold for me! So, we kinda turfed that idea and decided we’re gonna go to Sydney. So, on the surface Australia is very similar to South Africa, Southern Hemisphere, similar climate, similar sports. Right? They also like…
Yoni Mazor 6:20
Similar language right? That helps.
Ryan Gnesin 6:21
Right, right, and and you know it was a softer landing in the sense there were a number of South Africans who had already gone to Sydney. So that kind of was a logical place.
Yoni Mazor 6:31
So there was an ex-pat community over there in Sydney?
Ryan Gnesin 6:33
Yeah there was, it was, you know, we were, we were kind of a big wave of...there was kind of a big wave of immigration when we went, and then another wave happened like a few years later. So, you know, it was, you know, like some of my friends in those early days were also people who had immigrated from South Africa, so it was great, I mean like, you know, on the surface it's looks like a very similar culture. It's not as similar when you get there, there's different nuances to culture right? And it was an early lesson I guess in life for learning to deal with people from, you know, across a broader spectrum, learning to deal with uncertainty. You know, learning that change is not always a bad thing and you know it is what you make of it. Right. So, there was a lot of, sort of early lessons in life thereby, through immigration.
Yoni Mazor 7:21
So you graduated junior high there, you know, what was the next station?
Ryan Gnesin 7:23
Correct. So I graduated there, spent... so I lived in Sydney for 10 years and for high school and university.
Yoni Mazor 7:30
So 14 to 24. What year was that? When you left?
Ryan Gnesin 7:32
So, 2007 is when I left and I went to, I got a job in Switzerland. Right after I got my degree. I spent a year actually, I did a, I did a scholarship with MLC group which is a big life insurer, and I worked with the company called Life Protection Solutions. So they were, they were an insurance brokerage firm. And at the time like Australians were heavily under insured and I looked at that opportunity. And there were a couple of mentors that I really liked and admired who I went to work for, and I loved those guys. I just hated the industry, because it was very difficult for me to sort of.. You know, I’ve got, what happened was, I remember the moment I decided to leave the industry was, you know…
Yoni Mazor 8:18
The insurance industry? You were working there already? So right after college, you basically penetrate into the insurance industry in Australia, following the people that you do like but you found out there was no soul and purpose for you in that industry.
Ryan Gnesin 8:33
Correct. I didn't love, I didn't love it, and, and then I got this opportunity to interview for this company called Glencore, which is a Swiss-based commodity trading company, I thought that sounds a little more interesting, a little more sexy, and I was young I was, whatever, I decided...You know, it took me six months to get the job. I had so many interviews.
Yoni Mazor 8:54
So give us some perspective, cuz you dropped the name like it’s nothing, but Glencore is the titan of industry, the commodities industry. It just a global giant that, and you know... Give us an example about the commodities or the skill and sheer size of this enterprise, that's why, you know, it was a six months process just to get filtered in and have an opportunity to be a part of the organization.
Ryan Gnesin 9:16
Yeah, yeah so Glencore was at the time it was still private. And it had a sort of interesting kind of clandestine kind of culture about it. There was this just like, it was like air of curiosity about the company and...it was mysterious but like they were doing exceptionally well, I mean they were, they were responsible for a huge portion of the commodities that move around the world, whether it's oil or coal or copper or zinc or aluminum, you know, they were, they are the biggest trading company in the world.
Yoni Mazor 9:50
The fundamentals of the modern world, all these, you know, bonds and ingredients that we need, all these commodities. You know, they run the show.
Ryan Gnesin 9:56
Correct. And so, you know, I knew nothing about commodities right? I remember sitting on the plane reading from what literally “Commodities for Dummies”, or something, or whatever, one of them, literally like learning from nothing. And, but it seemed intriguing, and I was kind of interested in the adventure and I was interested in the opportunity to...you know, I was young, so to explore and experiment with different things, and I knew the opportunity to be financially successful was there as well because I kind of heard anecdotal stories that guys have done really well with them.
Yoni Mazor 10:27
So you said you were on a plane. On the plane where?
Ryan Gnesin 10:29
I went to Switzerland to work in, I went to, I interviewed with them and literally they flew me there for a meeting. Literally I had six hours solid of meetings, and then they put me on a plane and I came straight back the same day. I mean, it was a whirlwind of activity, mindblowing...I mean, they flew me business class which for me was the most exciting thing ever. Picked me up in this like black Mercedes. You know, it was just like super exciting for me. But then I realized that okay like this is, this is going to be hard work right?
Yoni Mazor 11:00
Before you dive into that so what was the trigger for them to be interested in you? You don't have any background in it? What was the point of connection? Looking from my angle, it’s what's the connection? A private company, kind of mysterious, based in Switzerland. This was one, you know, Ryan Gnesin over there in Australia that's a little bit, trying to get out of the insurance business. You know, invest into you a business class by coming for six hours, business flight back. Don't make sense.
Ryan Gnesin 11:28
Yeah, it's a fair question. So first of all, the CEO of the company at the time, he recently stepped down and he’s basically is a Jewish South African, right? And so, you know, it was, I’m a Jewish South African, so it’s the same kind of community, and when I was working in the insurance industry I said to my boss one day, I said listen I'm not happy. I mean I really liked you guys, but like this isn’t for me. I can't see myself here for the next 10 years. I don't know what I'm going to do, I'll stay as long as you want me to stay to work, but like, ultimately like I'm going to move on. And he said to me, okay, well listen, I have a friend of mine who works at Glencore and he literally called me last night saying do I know young guys who are hungry and ambitious and want to be successful, and are willing to work hard. And so he said perfect timing, like why don't you call the guy? So I called the guy and we had a couple of discussions. And that was it, you know? They weren't looking for prior experience they were looking for guys who are hungry, willing to live anywhere, go anywhere, work 18 hours a day and like I was willing to do that, you know..
Yoni Mazor 12:36
So looking for a young horse, you know, that's full of energy, full of power, with good values, good ethics, good work morals. And off you go into the organization and you mentioned the CEO of being a South African Jew. How did that manifest at any level? At least in the early offset, or is that something you discover later or something that, I mean?
Ryan Gnesin 12:53
No, no. I knew that because his niece was my next-door neighbor in Sydney. So I knew her very well and in fact, long story, I mean back in South Africa, actually we used to like carpool with her younger sister, so there was some kind of like, there was this connection right? And you know what it's like the communities are fairly small. Everyone to some extent knows each other.
Yoni Mazor 13:18
Yeah tight-knit. We’re gonna get to that future on and that's why you met your current co-founder, Brian Stein, but a different part of the Atlantic over the ocean. So, it's pretty interesting how your life revolves around being you know, involved in tight-knit communities, who are active in a global scale. But in any case, to our matter and purpose, you know, fate has it that you, you're in the right place at the right time saying the right thing, and you found yourself, you know, in Switzerland. Which part of Switzerland?
Ryan Gnesin 13:44
So it’s this tiny town called Zug about 20 minutes south of Zurich, this tiny little town. Right? I mean, you know like you go for a run, and first of all there this absolutely stunning lake right next to the office, and you would think this sort of high powered commodity trading company, you would think that there’s, you walk in there and there are energy and excitement and there's noise in it. It wasn't, it's not like that at all. It's very quiet. Everyone's kind of doing their thing, actually super quiet. And then when you walk outside, it's sort of like within, you know, five minutes, there’s cows in fields, and it was beautiful but it was just so completely another planet from where I came from, sort of.
Yoni Mazor 14:20
Right, for an average American, thinking about commodities, you think about Chicago and New York, that hustle and bustle big town. Skyscrapers, downtown New York, maybe Wall Street, you know it's cutthroat, screaming, yelling. You’re saying no it was completely out of this world, serene, beautiful landscaping, puts you in the ease. Wow. That’s a unique approach, I never thought about that.
Ryan Gnesin 14:41
And it was a great experience. It was there were other young guys like me who would also be in there and you're, you know, we lived in tiny little apartments and, you know, we worked ourselves to the bone, but we were happy and it was a good experience and you know, being in the center of, being in Switzerland, in the center of Europe was the opportunity once every so often to jump on a plane on a Friday afternoon and then come back Sunday and you go to Paris for a weekend, or you go to Milan for a weekend or something.
Yoni Mazor 15:09
So it was located kind of in the heart of Europe, you know, a few hours away from every major capital or cultural capital and so I guess you had a great ride. Tasting Europe and the best that it has to offer. But what was your actual, like, you know, day to day or experience? What was your role? What was your position, what was your, you know, what was…?
Ryan Gnesin 15:28
I mean in those days I was doing logistics, I mean when you... In order to become a trader, which is, which is the ultimate objective right for most of the guys to become a trader. Well, you've got to start with logistics because if you're moving commodities around the world, you've got to understand the intricacies of what it takes to bring a vessel and how the vessel arrived, what, what the paperwork looks like you've got to be able to write the contracts that allow us to see what's been learned, that sort of traffic. And so that's what I did and I didn't really enjoy it. To be honest, I really didn't enjoy it at all.
Yoni Mazor 16:01
But that was the ground level was, you know, pivotal ground level, to be able to have the infrastructure…
Ryan Gnesin 16:05
That’s it and to be honest with you I wasn't very... In those days, like, I hadn’t trained myself to have really strong attention to detail. And so now you're forced to like be looking at contracts all day long and if you make a mistake and then you've got a multi-million dollar deals. I mean if you make a mistake on a contract, you potentially are exposing the company to a huge loss. So you know it forced me to really become better at that. And I did become better I'm not, I'm not the best in the world, there are certainly a lot better at it…
Yoni Mazor 16:38
So is it true to say that you know this is really your that you're diving into the professional world as a professional, diving into the details, the nitty-gritty of things, the daily operations..
Ryan Gnesin 16:49
That’s it. Because in the previous role as a broker and I've done a bunch of sales roles, by the way, I mean I've always throughout college and school, even I was doing a bunch of different sales roles. So it's a very different like skill set to develop is now you're getting a contract, and making sure planning, planning, shipments and looking at letters of credit and so it was a very different experience, but a necessary one for me and it came at the right time and it was very important for me to learn that skill set.
Yoni Mazor 17:13
And it started in 2007 Right. Okay, so 2008-2009 and kind of global economical crisis. Did it affect Glencore in any way?
Ryan Gnesin 17:23
Oh yeah absolutely. I mean, I was in Switzerland for only about nine or 10 months and then the opportunity came to move to Indonesia with the country. Right, and so that for me was a huge opportunity and, and also a very sort of scary one. They pulled me in the office on a Thursday and said, hey, Ryan, we've got some, you know, we've got this office that’s really growing fast and we need some people down in Jakarta, and at first I thought they said Chicago, for some reason. No, no Jakarta. Jakarta, Indonesia, which is the third biggest democracy in the world and, you know, what did, it is a huge country which I'd never...I mean I’d heard about it but never knew...I mean I knew Bali.
Yoni Mazor 18:06
I think it's also something like the largest Muslim country in the world, like 200 million residents right? Or population. So once again a different culture completely for what you know in South Africa, Australia, and Switzerland, I would assume. But what year was that when you made the decision to uh…
Ryan Gnesin 18:21
So they asked me, I went into the office on Thursday, they said, listen, we've got this opportunity and you should probably be there by Monday. I mean, I had very few, I had almost no time and I was like, okay, and boom, and then and I jumped on a plane, they gave me a Blackberry which I was super excited about. And I jumped on a plane and off I went to Indonesia, and, you know, and now I started learning about commodities trading in Indonesia and that for me was actually far more exciting, because now I was on the front line.
Yoni Mazor 18:54
So they gave you the ticket saying, now you're ready, you got your fundamentals. Go to Jakarta, Indonesia, help with the push over there you're a trader.
Ryan Gnesin 18:56
No, it wasn't that you're a trader, I didn't know that, they didn't say you were, but it was no. The interesting thing is like, there were never any titles, labels. Glencore had a thing about never putting titles on someone's business card. And there was a specific reason for that so that if one day you were sitting in front of the CEO of some other big utility in Japan, for example, they never knew who you were so they will always like they were always cautious because oftentimes, you know what it's like in certain cultures, if the CEO is there, they want to talk to the other CEO. If the manager is there, they want to, they don't want to be, they don't want a senior guy to talk to an inferior. They never knew you were exactly. So, and that was part of the reason for that so there was never, titles was was never a big deal there. And, and so I went down there and sort of I was still working in logistics, but slowly but surely I would start to meet customers and I would, and I would start to learn about the trading part of the business and sort of...Then they bought a couple of mines and I started helping manage some oversee some of the mines, but the title was never really defined, I essentially caught up in a way, it was growing quickly and did whatever had to be done, you would help wherever you could.
Yoni Mazor 20:10
Interesting, maybe that's also part of the reason where internally when you grow into the outfit. You’re ready when you're ready. It's not really about the role it's about the reality. You pick up more more skills, more more experience, more, more ability to do more things, but then the more sophisticated, more elevated and just grow into it. Interesting approach. Yeah, yeah, okay, Jakarta 2008 You're rising the experience and skill set. Take us, what was the next station here in this other company? Was it a big crazy story? Or something.
Ryan Gnesin 20:38
I have a million crazy stories. I'll give you a sense of what that experience was like for me. I mean the very first week that I was there, we went to play golf with a Thai customer from Thailand. Yeah, yeah. And, you know, I remembered like I was curious. Okay, my boss at the time was very, was, was a fantastic guy and he was incredibly personable, and a very very good trader. And I remembered sort of sitting there thinking, Okay, well this is going to be interesting like to see how the discussion is handled around the golf course right? Is it going to be fun? Is it going to be mostly business? Like how does this actually work? We played golf, and it was, there was zero business talk, I mean everything was just having fun, from the politics and talking about all sorts of things, but there was no business discussion at all over again. It was a pleasure. It was wonderful and then we went to lunch afterwards. And right at the end of lunch, after having a great time and having, laughing a lot and talking, the guy said to my boss at the time he said, So Tony, why don't you buy a million... This was a supplier, right, why don't you buy a million tons of coal from us. And Tony said, ok happy to do that. This is early...So the Thai customer, he was the marketing manager of a mine in Indonesia, but he was selling product to us. So this was a trading company to do with buyers and sellers, and so we would sit in the middle and the way, and the way in the commodity world, there's two types of, there's three types of ways you can really make money. One is what's called a back to back contract, so I could finally come to you and you say hey I'm going to sell you a ton of copper for $100 but for example, and I'm going to go sell it to the next stock for $110 and I pocket the difference, right. Exactly. That's right, they say with no risk, right, because I've been to both sides of the deal, but the other way you can do that you can take a position where you say, I think the markets going up, I think in six months mark it's probably going to be 150, so I’ll go buy a million tons of copper today, whatever it is today. At $100, hoping that the price will go up and then I'll sell it gradually as the months go on. And that's so that's a much riskier way to do it but you can make a lot more money that way. And then the third way of course is an agency where I don't buy from you I just represent you and I helped you move the product and I take a royalty for that. So, we wouldn't say here, the guy was offering us a position trade where he's like I'll sell you a million tonnes. Okay. And, and so you know Tony said okay sure. Yeah, he's my boss, and we were bullish at the time. We thought the price of the market was going up, and I forget the exact number, but it was something like, he was offering it at like $50. And Tony said, maybe how about 45. And he said I have that 47.50? You know something, and it was that quick. And Tony said fine, and we literally wrote it on the back of, literally like no joke, on the back of an envelope, and we shook hands. And, and that was it.
Yoni Mazor 23:54
And how large was the value of the deal?
Ryan Gnesis 24:01
It was a, I mean that's a 40 that's, that was roughly a 40 million or $50 million deal. Unbelievable. So looking, and then what happened was, now that's part of the story, and then what happened was the market in 2008 for commodities, I mean the price of commodities started going crazy. Crazy up. Crazy up! Yeah, right. Yeah, right, that was a big commodity supercycle, and I remember looking through our position at the time because I was responsible for kind of maintaining the books and and the positions and I remembered looking back, and I noticed that, three months or something the price of the commodity had increased by about $25. So, so that, that trade, that one little thing over lunch, was now in the money by about $25 million profit. Yeah, and so that and that's when a deputy, really first and certainly that was the first I was like holy shit, like my parents have worked their ass off for their whole life and and slugged it out and couldn't even smell that kind of money and here over a fun game of golf, and a little bit of lunch and you can make 25 bucks. Just like that. And that's opened up a whole new world kind of reality in terms of what's possible. You know, there are many guys, you know through that period, many guys I saw guys go from zero to billion, this is almost nothing to billionaires. And then many of them lost it again a few years later because commodities are tumultuous, or the market crashed after 2008 right? End of 2009. So it was just an interesting experience for me that, you know, you can make big money quickly and you can lose it very quickly. There really is an element of the boom-bust cycle but there's a lot of luck involved, there's some skill involved in all sorts of stuff involved.
Yoni Mazor 25:48
Wow. That’s a wild place to be. What an environment to be in. Okay, so what was the next station after Glencore? What's the progression?
Ryan Gnesin 25:51
Right, so I was there for eight years. In Jakarta, there's a little bit of culture there, what would you, what was your question. You know, in the early days it was a little bit of the Wild West. And then, you know basically my, my boss left and we had some other guys and eventually I took over the office, but the company at that point had gone public. 2011. Sorry, 2010 I think it was.
Yoni Mazor 26:33
Wait so you took over during the global economic crisis? This is kind of a rare occasion because liquidity in the market is not that great., Yeah, so are you saying that you were in charge of the whole office then? How big was the office?
Ryan Gnesin 26:46
Well the office in Jakarta was about 30 odd people. And then we also were in charge of the region, like we had the Philippines and we had the Thai market and we had, we had several markets in the region that we were responsible for.
Yoni Mazor 27:10
Wow that's pretty far global, like you have this region, you have in Region coming as a, you know, no expectations, that’s a pretty good progression.
Ryan Gnesin 27:17
Well I mean in the coal industry, you know, Indonesia became the biggest exporter in the world. And so it was we were in the epicenter of some of the biggest action, but it was a very exciting time at the time and most people don't even know those things, but it was a really exciting time and we had a lot of fun right..
Yoni Mazor 27:36
Yeah you’re right at the center. So you get a taste of things. Then 2011, sorry 10, Glencore became public, and that could change the dynamics a little bit?
Ryan Gnesin 27:44
The dynamic changed a little bit because you have a lot of a lot more sort of compliance stuff that you have to take care of. And so you have to be a lot more careful with, you know, the way you did things and how you did things. And you know that changed things a little bit. Also, a lot of the big money had already been realized. Like the guys who really made, who became very wealthy, were the guys who got in long before the IPO, and then sort of shared invested, and their shares are worth many times. I mean I kind of snuck in just before. So I did ok for myself, but I mean, you know, Glencore made 100 multimillionaires and 10 billionaires through that IPO. Right? So it was, it was just incredible wealth.
Yoni Mazor 28:29
So the day of the IPO, 10 people became billionaires and hundreds of people became millionaires? Got it. Ok wow. That's a pretty serious liquidity event so yeah, you're there, you know, in Jakarta it’s 2017 or 18?
Ryan Gnesin 28:47
Yeah so 2016 I had, you know, I just, I've had enough, you know, at that point I was spending my life on an airplane, I was traveling something like 300 flights a year. And, you know, which is, which effectively every day, and my girlfriend hated me. We met in Indonesia. Yeah, she was living, she was Indonesian. And, yeah, I just, it was, it wasn't a very wholesome lifestyle, and, and I felt like, and more importantly like my learning curve, or equally importantly, my learning curve has started to slow down. You know the company wasn't great, the markets were in a rush. I wasn't learning as much anymore. I wasn't growing personally, the company wasn't really growing anymore, management had become a little more stuck to their ways and less... They were less inclined to take risks and do innovative things, right. Yeah, and for me that's like, it didn't feel right and I felt like I finally felt projected myself 10 years before I thought, You know would I really want to be here in 10 years and, and, and what happened was I think that there's this guy that I sort of came across on the internet. He’s a business coach. And so I started watching YouTube videos of him and I was intrigued by, what he was talking about. And one day I called his office in Austin, Texas. Right. And so I called the office, and it turned out it was like seven o'clock in the morning I got the time wrong, and it was seven o'clock in the morning, and I was calling to like ask for some CDs I wanted to buy some of this I wanted to kind of listen and start learning about different stuff and so Keith answers the phone. I recognize his voice immediately. And I said Woah, I don't expect you to answer the phone, I thought I was gonna get customer service. And he said, Yeah well, I mean there's no one else around, so I'm answering the phone. I’m like that’s cool. But this is, I was gonna call for some CDs but I'm not going hassle with that, but since I've got you, I've got a dilemma. And I explained to him, here's where I am. I'm not learning as much as I used to I'm not growing as much as I used
to, you know, I'd like to. I'm not sure what to do. Right, I'm in a great position, I'm coasting along, but I'm not really sure what to do with my career. And he said to me, look Ryan, throughout my entire career people only ever complain that they're unhappy for one reason, They're no longer growing. He says people like to talk about passion, doing something you're passionate about. He says in my experience, people are passionate about growth. If you're growing and you're learning, you're happy. And it doesn't matter what the industry is or what you're doing and if you no longer growing and learning, you’re gonna be unhappy. And I thought that was a great insight because everyone you spoke to was like you gotta do something you're passionate about. And he said, Forget about what you do, do something when you're going to grow and you're gonna learn. And I thought that’s cool advice, and so he said to me, if you work with me and we were to help you double or triple the size of your business. Right? In Indonesia, would that make you really happy and want to stay there for the next 10 years. And he’s like don't answer it now, but you know if it would, then let's do that. And if it won’t, well then you maybe need to think about trying something different right, in different industries. And I thought myself, you know even if we tripled the size of the business. You know, I'm not sure like it wouldn't be that exciting for me anymore. Right, so I decided okay, that was, that was kind of, when I thought, you know it's time for me to move on and, and do something that's a little more exciting and a little more engaging.
Yoni Mazor 32:27
That makes sense and given this little exercise, you know, try to even look internally, even if you do experience this growth in your current outfit your current organization that you’re in, would that still excites you, or are you similar passion, you looked within and said, Yes, but probably not as much as I want to. I'm going to go through to my next station. So what was the next station? Take us there.
Ryan Gnesin 32:47
Well, then the next step, well then, At that point I was a blank canvas, right? So I left, I resigned, I had no job or anything lined up. Fortunately, I'd done okay for myself, I wasn't under sort of financial pressure. And so I went down to Sydney because that's where my family was and that's where my, you know, my buddies were and I went down and suddenly I noticed as 10 years had gone by, and all of my friends were married with kids. I mean I used to go back regularly and visit, but I mean, I went back and now I'm living there. And, and now I'm single and all my friends are kind of married with kids and I want to go out and everyone has family stuff to do. And the business opportunity felt somewhat limited to me at the time and didn’t feel right that to settle at that moment, right, it just didn't feel right to be there and so I was there for a month or something I decided you know what, like, I feel like I need to do something a little more exciting. At this stage of my life, I can always go back to Sydney. Right. Well, I’m an Australian citizen and my parents were there, my brother and sisters.
Yoni Mazor 33:45
Yeah, that’s your hub, you know, your family and everything you always feels like it's a landing pad if you ever needed it.
Ryan Gnesin 33:50
That’s it exactly. And so, you know, I decided, no, I'm going to do something. And so I was talking with some of my buddies, and I have friends living in New York, and they were loving it and they couldn't urge me strongly enough to come to New York, come check it out, you're going to love the energy, you're going to love the opportunity, you’re gonna love it. And so I went, I kind of got on a plane and I went to check it out. And I'd been to New York before for a holiday, but when you land somewhere with the, with the view to live there, and the different perspective and you think about it a different way. So I landed in New York. 2016 That was about September 2016. Yeah, I came on a six-month visa, I got a six-month visa and I came in, and I came to check it out and I loved it. I mean, from the moment I landed, I said I loved the energy of the place in five minutes something cool about it. And what I did was also, I decided I'm going to sign up, do some like conferences or something a little different, right, and so, and so I thought maybe I'll do an MBA or maybe I'll do just try a few different things.
Yoni Mazor 35:02
Let me back up for a second. When you got a degree, what was your degree in? Bachelor of Commerce. Yeah, that makes sense because it kind of deals with that anyways afterward at Glencore, so you go to New York City and feel you want to go into school or learn something.
Ryan Gnesin 35:14
I wasn't sure. I just got there and I was like okay well what do I want to do? Do I want to buy a business or do I want to start a business? I also had the steady polarizing experience of working in a very hardcore culture which I loved it but I mean, it was a pretty intense, culture, it's a very specific way of living in Indonesia, the social life was not really high on the agenda, I mean we had fun, but I mean working was, was really what we did. And so I, you know, I remembered listening to some Tony Robbins, like cassettes when I was much younger, and I thought, you know, I wonder what he's up to these days. And so I googled him and saw he had a bunch of conferences. So I thought you know what, let me sign up a few of these conferences cuz I always thought he gave some interesting insights and stuff, so I went to a couple of these Tony Robbins events and learned a lot of like really important, valuable lessons that I've actually really helped me in terms of psychology and how important that is in faith and it was kind of helped round me out of it but honestly at the time. And I met some fantastic people. And it was at a Tony Robbins event, actually that I met a guy who was in the Amazon world. And, you know Sam Cullen, and he had this big Amazon business, and he’s a good friend today. And I thought, and that when I became intrigued. Do you know? He was telling me about his business and of course, I thought e-commerce was really exciting and really interesting, you know, and I just kind of kept that in the back of my mind as I was experimenting with a few different things and I also went to Keith Cunningham, the guy I told you about from Austin, Texas, he told me about the growth thing, I signed up for a couple of his events. So I'm gonna go to events and kind of educate myself and learn and experience a few things before I really jump really fast into something. And after looking at buying a few businesses and starting new businesses, I thought a little Amazon business would be fun. And I don't think that it doesn't have to be my sole focus, I'll set up an Amazon business on the side while I continue to explore and experiment with others. And I went into a Marshall’s one day and I noticed that you know you could scan the barcode of the shoe, cuz a friend showed me you could do that, you could scan the barcode of the shoe, and you could see the price on Amazon.
Yoni Mazor 37:32
I want to get some context so for the audience. So Marshall’s is a retailer here in the United States, it's usually for heavily discounted products but you find brand names. So you’re saying you’re going to Marshall’s, you can scan it through your phone device to see you know you see what the price is at Marshall’s, it's usually very cheap, and then online you’ll see it mostly being sold on Amazon, for maybe a bit more, so you have an opportunity to make a markup or quick arbitrage. So that was the element?
Ryan Gnesin 37:54
That was exactly it. My dad and I bought a few pairs of shoes and I sold them. I figured out how to sell them on Amazon. And they sold, and they sold profitably, making like a 40-50% ROI. And so, and then I went one day, then I remember like doing that a couple of times, I had a truck, and I went to it, there was like a Nike friend and family sale, and I hired a truck, and I went and bought, you know, I don't know $10,000 worth of Nike shoes or something like 15,000 or something like that. And sold those and those were super profitable. And so I knew there was a model here that really worked.
Yoni Mazor 38:26
And which year was this?
Ryan Gnesin 38:28
This is early 2017 now. And this is at the same time like I'm still going to these Tony Robbins events and I'm starting to get it, and this is all happening at the same time I'm, I'm experimenting, I'm trying a few different things, and I'm seeing what kind of works and what doesn't, and I’m learning. That's kind of what I was doing.
Yoni Mazor 38:49
Yeah from the ground up. Once again in a new industry, digital e-commerce, you’re learning once again, moving this, moving that, picking up the skill. As you also kind of test the waters, still checking your surroundings and other options with the environment.
Ryan Gnesin 39:02
You could read 100 books, but I mean doing one trade on Amazon is going to teach you more than if you read 100 books about how to trade on Amazon, just go do it. And you can do it relatively inexpensively. That's the beautiful thing to buy one pair of shoes, figure out how to sell it on Amazon, and learn how the process works, having spent $100 I mean that's super simple. That was the beautiful model about Amazon. And as I looked at that and I could see how successful it could be, and then you could sell anything, and that's e-commerce, it was so obviously, at the time because I was trained by the way, not that this was a hard thing to figure out you didn’t have to be a brain surgeon to figure out that e-commerce is great, but I was trained because I was commodities trading to constantly be looking at the macro picture. Is the market bullish or is the market bearish? So as I look at e-commerce, I thought to myself in 2017 Holy shit this is not just bullish. This is insanely bullish. Like there is zero prospect that the market could be the same size or smaller in five years or 10 years than it is today. It can only get bigger, it's going to be huge. And, and, by the way, in 2017 was also the first time I ever bought something off Amazon myself. We didn't have Amazon in Indonesia, or Australia at the time. So when I bought something from Amazon. It's unbelievable that you can close your eyes and you're out in the world of consumers. And there's no question in my mind that there's...I tasted the core of the fruits of E-commerce. Why would you go into a store and buy something?
Yoni Mazor 40:24
Exactly. I agree with you, and ultimately at the end of the day, high-level e-commerce is superior to anything that we know in terms of buying anything. You know, to park your car wastes gas, you don’t have to bounce from this store to another store. Even if you buy, you don’t have to go to your trunk with the stuff in and then go to the next store. Like you can't pay me to do that. Forget about me paying for that experience, I mean I can, but the efficiency, the ability to really get...I mean it’s mind-blowing.
Ryan Gnesin 41:01
I mean I’m using this new microphone that...I was on a podcast, the other day and my voice sounded crappy. So I went online and looked for the best microphone with the most reviews and I bought it and it arrived today. You can’t, I mean you just can’t compare. And so that really hit me hard in 2017 as I was experiencing and learning and I said this is the future. There's no doubt in my mind that e-commerce is going to continue to grow massively, and there was, there was no argument I could find that E-commerce was going to slow down or stop.
Yoni Mazor 41:33
So your observation was this is bullish to a degree which is really historical, almost once in a lifetime, you know, opportunity because it's on the rise, you know if e-commerce was doing back then, then 10% of retail, you said it’s a sure bet it’s gonna go to 15, 20 and beyond. So you're just very bullish and it swallowed you in, I guess what was the progression from that point?
Ryan Gnesin 41:54
Well sure, and, and so like my thinking at the time was, I don't know what I'm gonna do, but I know this is a tidal wave so let me figure out how to build a surfboard to ride the wave. And I don't know what that's going to be and I'm sure it will change over time but let me just start where you stand coz sometimes analysis paralysis will kill you. Right? So sometimes you just start where you stand, the low-hanging fruit, easiest opportunity, and that was going to Nike outlet stores and buying shoes. And then over time, I found someone who was wholesaling toys. You know, and I started looking at online courses and I signed up for Amazon courses, this guy was wholesaling toys. Okay great, I went to buy a bunch of toys, and some of them sold really great and some of them didn't. And I learned some good lessons, and step by step, incrementally I just, you know, I was using my own money and, and I was learning and I realized this is something I want to do. I enjoy it. It's fun, there’s a huge upside, there’s plenty of opportunities. This is what I want to do. So, that was it and so now 2018 is then when I met my business partner James. So, James is also Jewish South African, we never knew each other, he’s a few years younger than I am. In South Africa, also the same town.
Yoni Mazor 43:12
By the way, I just want to put this aside here, we did also an episode with James Stein. So if you want to learn more about Ryan’s partner James Stein, we do have an episode dedicated to him because these two guys are like wonderboys in the industry so we thought it's very important that they all, both share their own story. Okay, so you meet with James Stein somehow you know some of the backgrounds is similar.
Ryan Gnesin 43:32
Some of the backgrounds is similar. I know I've got this little Amazon business, and James is now thinking of starting his own Amazon business, and he's been reading up about it and learning about it. And we just, we were introduced from a mutual friend, and we just became friends, and coincidentally, we lived a block apart from each other in New York City. So, so we were living a block apart but occasionally he would call me and say, Hey man, I'm trying to set this up and what do you think of this and like, and then I would say well what do you think of this so and so, then, well, let's just get a coffee Let's go downstairs, I've been sitting at my desk all day by myself trying to figure this out, let's, let's grab a coffee and talk about it and so we became friends. Then we started playing tennis, and we started, and we just started, like, talking and it occurred to me that James is a really really great guy and a very smart guy and great work ethic. And then we looked at buying a couple of businesses together. And so, in the analysis he did, I noticed he had a bunch of strengths that I didn’t have and vice versa. And then one day I said to him, come I want to show you this with retail arbitrage. Yeah, yeah. I wanna show you this retail arbitrage thing. And so we went and we went down to a Nike store in Newark, I think it was. Newark, New Jersey. Correct. And so we started looking at it, and James’ eyes pop up and he says Holy Shit this is fantastic. So we then went and we decided okay we got to go raise capital if we want to do this at any reasonable scale. And so we went and found a guy who was a wealthy individual investor. And, you know, we took out a $2 million loan at the time to go, because you know we were confident that the downside of buying, you know a pair of Nike shoes, for example, is very limited. I mean there’s is going to be a value there. So you know we took out a loan, and we signed personally for the loan. And we thought that would be a good starting point for us. And, you know, the original business model was, was, well, we had a friend who had a $2 million Amazon business doing retail arbitrage. And he was doing it by himself. And so we looked at that and said, well if one guy can do $2 million by himself, what happens if we go hire 1000 people and make it like an Uber-style model where you give people the technology, you show them what to do. And anytime in their spare time that they have, they can go to a Nike store or a Marshalls scan the products, buy the products, you know, drop it at a location, and then we’ll send it into Amazon. So we had this sort of vision of how we would build that out. And so, you know, initially, we went in, we went and, you know, we went and bought a couple of cars like the Toyota Sienna minivans, 2008. You know, and we just hired a few people and we set up a little warehouse. We rented a space in a warehouse in Union City, New Jersey, and we started and that's what we did. And it was fun but it was extremely difficult work. And, you know..
Yoni Mazor 46:37
Yeah, you guys are scrappy. It's scrappy, you need something that was more scalable.
Ryan Gnesin 46:42
It was scrappy, it was hard work and, you know, and then very soon after that we started, you know as you network and you learn and you meet people in the industry. We found people who were distributors and wholesalers, where you know you could buy $100,000 by myself on my computer in an hour, which would have taken me you know three weeks with 20 people to buy, for example, you know what I mean? So it just occurred to me like it’s so much easier to do this wholesale thing, which, you know, it took us a few months to figure that out.
Yoni Mazur 47:13
So you realized that instead of being scrappy and trying to, you know, kind of find all these products in all these stores scattered all around, you try to find a good supplier, a good source so you can buy in bulk and wholesale. And that really changed the game. So you guys did that and tasted growth and success and a bit of profit. And what was the next station for you? And you’ve already got a partner with this thing, you know, we’ve merged our activities into one business, and you guys named it, back in the day, Recon Brands.
Ryan Gnesin 47:47
Recon Trading. And now and now Elevate right?
Yoni Mazor 47:48
Now with the relaunch, you guys are relaunching yourself as a new brand, as Elevate Brands. Okay, so you're doing well, you know, you're mostly selling brands but at some point, the progression was that you have your own brand. And I guess part of the experience where you bought a few brands. And you tasted so much success over there, then I guess you guys did something that is, you know, I guess a natural progression for you is that okay now let's have a more sustainable model because our brands, it’s our growth, obviously, we can do well on a platform like Amazon but also beyond. So, let's raise. Let’s raise and go out there and provide an opportunity for other brands to have an exit. Yeah, to have a good exit and also for yourself to have this portfolio of brands that you're passionate about, you believe in it, you know you can grow it and take it the next step shows us I guess the progression there becoming, you know brand aggregator or brand accelerator.
Ryan Gnesin 48:42
Yeah. So, first of all, I should say, when, when...You know, in 2017 when I was experimenting with a few different things, I also experimented with a private label. So I launched four different private label products. Right? And, and they were okay, like they were all average sellers, right? Nothing great. Except one of them was actually a really, really successful product, and it was a salt and pepper shaker, right? It was called La Maison. You can go on Amazon, it's still there. And what happened was, it's there but it's, we no longer run that brand. What happened was, we ran out of stock, very quickly, as you know, sales started one a day, two days, three a day, five a day, and all of a sudden got to like 30 or 40 units a day and when we were like holy shit we’re gonna be outta stock soon, we didn't expect it to take off so quickly. And then we had a two-month delay, where we didn't have any more stock. Eventually, we got more stock back and we didn't realize how difficult it was going to be to advertise again, we still didn't really know what we were doing. I mean, I probably should have studied a little more carefully what we were doing. But this is the same time that the reselling business was taking off. So I was putting most of my attention into the reselling business and the trading business as opposed to the private label business. And then we had a bunch of black hat sort of hijackers come on the listing and sell fake products, and we started getting a whole bunch of really bad negative reviews right? On the private label brand, yeah. We started getting all these 1-star reviews. And so I made a decision, at one point to say you know what, I'm just going to, you know, my old business coach was famous for saying, you know, “avoid the shiny penny, and focus on something” so I decided you know what I'm just gonna focus on the re-selling thing because that's where we're getting the best traction. So I'm going to let this private label thing, you know, put it on the back burner, and eventually, just sort of fade out and die. And, you know in hindsight we shouldn't have done that, we should have focused on the product. But anyway, this is a learning process, right? And at the time, by the way, you know, there were lots of like horror stories that Amazon could come in and shut down your accounts and all these stories about people getting their account shut down and so if you remember in those early days, this was like a big talking point and this was the number one fear that every seller had. So, I was afraid that you could have this brand, and you could put all that money and effort into it, and then overnight Amazon could shut you down. Whereas if you're reselling other branded footwear and apparel, that couldn't really happen to you. You can always set up another Amazon account because you understand what I’m saying? So we looked at it from a risk analysis point of view and said, Well, it probably makes more sense to do this reselling thing, right? And then Amazon started changing its policy right? And so, you know, they became a little, we had our accounts shut down several times as a trading company and we learned how to get that backup, and we learned what are the things you've got to avoid and you got to be careful of, and so we understood the ecosystem a bit better. So as you got to, as you understand and get more knowledge on infrastructure, you just understand what to do, your risk actually reduces because you need to understand and know what to do, we had contacts, and we knew how to tackle these problems. And so, by the middle of 2019, I really was antsy to get back into the private label space. And so we started looking at and thinking about that, and I really was interested in the roll-up model, because I thought, you know, I always liked the model. The problem was, at the time in 2017, we weren’t allowed to own multiple Amazon accounts and Amazon would shut you down if you had multiple accounts, and over time that process became a little more lenient. Now Amazon says you can, as long as you're not selling the same product in each account and that...And so by the middle of 2019, it became apparent that that was going to be a great opportunity. And so, enter Jeremy, who is head of our M&A today. And, you know Jeremy came right at the, just at the right moment. Yeah, Jeremy Bell. Now, Jeremy, he's the twin brother of a guy Robert Bell who also works with us, but Robert was... I worked with Rob for five years in Indonesia. We were working sort of shoulder to shoulder in the trenches in Indonesia, and so like I knew him very very well, you know, we were kind of like brothers in a way and so, you know his twin brother moved to the US because his wife got a job in Portland in IT. And he was looking for something to do. And so we just started chatting and talking about e-commerce and looking at the opportunities and he helped us with a couple of small projects and we realized ok this guy is a fantastic guy. And we decided that, yes, let's work together, let's go ahead and do a roll-up. And so we acquired, we went and looked and acquired our first business in December of 2019. And then what happened was that business went backward by 50%. Right? It went down, it went, after within a month of buying it, it dropped by about, over I think it was over 50%, even 60%. And the reason was I was tinkering with stuff in the title and I've tried a few different things in the past that, in other words, I botched it, because I didn't really know what I was doing. And, and so we learned a hard lesson, and then we really decided we’re gonna dig deep. It's like it's not acceptable that this thing is going to be a failure, and whatever it takes to make this thing successful is what we're going to do. So we went and we hired a consultant and he went and learned every course we could and we did whatever we could do. And, and eventually, then we got that business not just to where it was, that business is now I think three times, a year later after we bought it, now a year after we bought that business, just over a year and I think that things are well over 200% from the time we bought it. So we did not just have a save, but we had a big win there. And then what happened was we launched... And then of course COVID happens right? So this is, but by the time we start getting this business back up, now COVID happened, so which made everyone nervous including us. And so we decided we're going to delay the roll-up thing for a few months just to kind of see how things play out. But let's launch a brand because that's a little less risky way of still continuing to learn how private label works. So we went and launched the brand in the sort of outdoor and camping category. And that became the number one seller. Having learned all the things we have now learned, we managed to get that to the number one seller, and within, I think two and a half months we did $2 million in revenue, very profitable business. So that was a huge slam dunk success and it was an $80,000 investment and it was huge out of the park success. And then we launched another brand and also had a big success out of the second brand that we launched. So now we had our confidence back, the market we could see was starting to, you know post COVID, we could see that, okay, e-commerce is gonna be really huge here. We've got a lot of tailwinds. And so that's when, sort of middle of the year 2020, we decided that we were going to go aggressively at the roll-up approach and that's when we started looking and raising money and started to think about how to scale the roll-up approach. And so we went and bought a whole slew of brands in the second half of 2020. And, you know, we've been able to grow those dramatically. Right? So, you know, I mean, that, of course, has a lot to do with COVID and the strength of e-commerce, but also, you know, to give ourselves some credit, you know, we pulled a bunch of levers: branding and creative supply chain, customer service, SEO, PPC. We pulled all these levers, which helped us really dramatically grow the business.
Yoni Mazur 56:12
Right. So what I can see from my perspective is you guys did almost every possible mistake in the book to get, to make all these wrong turns, and by that, now you know all the correct turns. Now you have a solid infrastructure, solid infrastructure where you know how to make all the right moves in order to make your brand successful and rise and be profitable and that gave you the confidence to make a much larger move where you’re raising 10s of millions of dollars in order to increase your exposure, which is a very cool thing to do. Because the confidence is there, it's in your, in your belt, all the skills, and all the tools that you need. So, this is where you guys are today, you know it's an amazing story, you know where you started in South Africa, and the whole trail, so we’re gonna touch that, with your permission to do and make a quick recap. So born and raised in South Africa, in Johannesburg, up to the age of 14 when things were getting more violent than ever, and then you migrated to Australia, in Sydney. You know, went to school there, got educated, had a little stint with the insurance industry, said it wasn't for you. By chance and circumstances, you had an opening with Glencore, so you flew out to Switzerland, in the Zurich area. Did a little bit of time there, and then the opportunity opened itself up in Indonesia, in Jakarta. You went over there, you grew up in the progression, and you were really hardcore into the world of commodity trading and on so making terrific numbers on global skills but about after eight years, you find out, okay, I'm kind of plateaued, the growth, expansion has plateaued, you know, you reach out to some support outside, Austin, Texas, a phone call in the morning, by chance you got direct ability to analyze what's going on. They said, Oh, I'm moving out of this position, you go back to Australia, see things there are not really for you, you’ve kind of matured and you're not at that stage yet. New York came knocking on the door, you land in New York, you surround yourself with a positive supporting environment of educators, entrepreneurs, and all these events. It opened up the door for you to recognize e-commerce as an opportunity, you jumped into it, did what you had to do. And by chance once again, you meet your current partner James, you guys live a block across the street. You guys really started in the reselling positions. Had your ups and downs there but eventually, touched success. Then by progression, touched private label, again your turbulence there. So you found success and then now you guys are really on top of your own game and feeling confident, and really marching with a focus for the future and growing in the e-commerce, industry and so that's kind of got those things together, right, and the recap?
Ryan Gnesin 59:04
You got that exactly right. And the only thing I need to add is that also when I came to New York because otherwise, she'll kill me, is I met my wife. And so we got married a couple of years ago in New York and she's a New Yorker. And so, you know, this is now home.
Yoni Mazor 59:21
Congratulations. Beautiful. Alright, so Ryan thank you so much for that, it was an amazing story that I experienced myself so thank you for sharing. So now we're gonna sign off the episode with two points. The first one will be if anybody wants to reach out and connect with you where would they find you? The last thing would be very shortly, what is your message of hope and inspiration for entrepreneurs listening out there?
Ryan Gnesin 59:44
Sure. So first of all if you wanna reach me because we just rebranded the new, new website will be “Ryan at elevate brands dot I O”
Yoni Mazor 59:51
So “Ryan at elevate brands dot I O”. Got it. And what is your message of hope and inspiration for entrepreneurs listening out there?
Ryan Gnesin 59:55
Hope and inspiration? We’ve made every mistake in the book. So, and we're still in a really really strong position, so there's hope. And what I would say is, experiment and test. Right? And that's going to be the best thing to do, you know, never bet the bank. But, but take a bunch of tests and iterate and learn, and double down on what's working and if something's not working kill it early, and just double down on the things that are working and if you do that enough times, you're bound to figure it out and be successful.
Yoni Mazor 1:00:36
And you’re bound to create something great which you’re gonna be proud of also. Ryan, thank you so much. Thank you everybody for listening, and joining us today. I hope you enjoyed it. Til the next time, stay safe.