John Merris is the CEO of Solo Brands, a public company that's making huge inroads in the outdoor space. With strong, in-the-trenches experience in sales and growth (he started as a door to door salesman!) Merris joined the company as its 7th employee and has since helped them acquire 3 other brands that now fall under the Solo Brands umbrella: Solo stove, Oru kayak, Chubbies apparel, and ISLE paddleboards.
When he was approached by the founders of Solo stove, a smokeless fire pit company that was actually based in hometown which he hadn't heard of previously, he was very intrigued and, nine days later, ended up joining as the 7th employee! Through his growth mindset and track record of building teams, John was soon asked to become the CEO, successfully acquired the other brands, and helped take the company public.
Going public, however, also brings some unexpected emotions and tricky waters you have to navigate as a leader. He quickly realized that by taking care of customers and maintaining a long-term view (versus only worrying about stock price and quarterly earnings) the company would be successful.
He states, "I believe that building a great brand centers around culture. What's your culture? Well, at Solo Brands, our culture is the customer. It's taking exceptional care of our customers. I don't believe, per se, in us going out as a company and building our brand. What I believe in is taking great care of our customers and letting our customers go and build our brand for us.
In this episode, John and Pete discuss:
1. How Merris approaches building a successful company through organic and inorganic growth.
2. What techniques he uses to create a culture of exceptional customer care.
3. How he works with and leverages influencers, social commerce, and affiliates to build Solo brands out as an umbrella.
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