Josh Felber is the CoFounder of Primal Life Organics, and the founder of the Making Bank podcast, and I was really excited to dive into a bunch of the amazing things he has done in eCommerce. Making bank is a show that he interviewed me on following the success of The Beard Club, and I then dove into the INCREDIBLE guest list he has facilitated and hundreds of thousands of listeners & viewers around the world he has touched.
Having sold a company in the merchant services space, Josh started to get really interested in eCommerce. Long before (1999 era) things like Shopify or WooCommerce made it possible to create a website nearly instantaneously, Josh was super early in the eCommerce game building out entire web solutions for accepting payments and shipping products from scratch.
After building and selling multiple ecommerce and retail brands, Josh found a new business to be passionate about in a rather convenient place: his wife and mother of his children. She was fueled to develop her own line of natural organic baby care products based on the lack of good products she could find on the market.
At the time Josh owned CrossFit gyms and his wife Trina was a full-time anesthesiologist, so the business remained more of a hobby based business that was just sort of making sales in the background. They started to eat Paleo though and found that the search traffic was ramping up significantly for paleo based products. With that, they rebranded the company to Primal Life Organics, and its steadily grew and grew until Josh decided to sell his other businesses and hop on full time to run all of the ecommerce sides of the business.
In the process of building their business, Josh said that one of the most important things they have done is to adopt the mindset of always be testing things. Sometimes things just stop working and you need to find an entirely new path, but if you aren’t willing to always be testing then you won’t be able to find the way to the next nugget of gold.
Another key piece of advice he could offer was the importance of focus. They had over 80 SKU’s and last year had to really sit down and see which products needed to demand more of their focus on the marketing front, and which could be shelved for later testing. We went through a similar struggle with some of our products with the Beard Club, and found that actually some of our products weren’t even really profitable when we were able to dig into the exact costing calculations.
We also touched on a couple of important topics for those looking to get into subscription ecommerce which include product sizing and subscription frequency. Sending out too much product (so that the customer hasn’t used them up quickly enough) or too frequently will mean you’re going to end up with customers canceling their subscription because they’ve simply stacked up too much product.
Additional challenges are also in the world of Tech. Leaps and bounds have been made by the platforms and ecosystems out there right now…however, the reality is that you will need a lot of customization regardless of what platform you are on to do multi-sku, multi-geography business, especially if you have a lot of historical data and custom features to integrate.
There has also been a massive shift towards mobile checkouts, Josh noted that nearly 70% of their sales are done on a mobile device. We at Beard Club saw a similar massive shift away from the desktop and towards mobile. These and other factors again really point back to being quick and nimble, and then to bounce back and test new things to keep the business growing.
Something I have really loved watching about the growth of Primal Life Organics is really this amazing partnership between husband and wife. I know a handful of other great power couples in eCommerce, and always love seeing a couple build an amazing business together. I have a tremendous amount of respect for these power couples as building a business can be hard work, marriage can be hard work, having kids can be hard work…doing all 3 together I think is just amazing!
Trina is really amazing on Camera as the face of the brand doing some really great video content. Video truly is one of the most powerful tools for building an eCommerce brand, and Josh said that both himself and Trina have always pushed themselves to develop and grow with their on-camera abilities. Something that also hit very hard with me as I’ve noticed a massive growth in my on-camera abilities in the last couple of months ago. For anyone out there who is a little shy on camera…just keep doing it, trust us, it gets easier!
Josh is currently juggling multiple businesses and family life, and so I wanted to ask him what some of his secrets for maintaining his incredible trajectory. He credits getting into personal development at an early age to his continued success, and he is a big fan of Tony Robbins work. He also highly recommends the book Relentless to summarize how he has always approached challenges in business and in personal life.
He also recommends to anyone who is raising a family while building a business that they consider integrating the two together instead of always striving to keep them separate. Trina and Josh try and take their kids wherever they can along with them on business trips to conferences and events so that there isn’t a constant separation. This isn’t simply just so that you are working all the time, but rather that this will give you more opportunities to spend your downtime with them.
01:13 – Josh’s origins in eCommerce
04:01 – Launching of Primal Life Organics and Pivoting the brand
06:50 – Testing everything to find the way
08:45 – Challenges with Subscription eCommerce
10:51 – Scaling subscription businesses
12:55 – Building a persona and getting better on camerea
15:08 – Building a business with your spouse
16:46 – Personal development and staying focused and productive
20:42 – Integrating family and business together
23:39 – Just do it!