Average to Savage
Average to Savage

Episode · 1 year ago

Randall Thompson and Kris Dehnert | Average To Savage EP125

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This is the one hundred and twenty-fifth episode of the Average to Savage podcast featuring Randall Thompson and Kris Dehnert founders of the Dugout Mugs. Paul Guarino talked with Randall Thompson and Kris Dehnert discussing how they created Dugout Mugs, things they learned on growing a business, and future projects coming up.

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This podcast interview with Randall Thompson and Kris Dehnert was originally recorded on May 20, 2021

This is the Average to Savage podcast with paul Guerrino. Everyone in anyone athletes, celebs and much more. What's up everybody? I'm back for another episode of the average Savage podcast. Our special guest today is chris and Randall of dugout mugs. How's it going guys go, give me life is good, let's just like jump right into it. How did like how did you guys start up dugout books Back in 2015? I had an idea to turn a baseball bat barrel into a drinking mug. I jumped it up in a college baseball dugout and uh kind of just out of desperation and a couple years later I kind of brought it to, brought it to the world and chris and I linked up in 2017 and then we, we just kind of started to show it off to more people and I mean that's a very it's a very, very big, very high level way of it all happening, but that's kind of the gist of it. Yeah. Then how did you two meet? I was scrolling through facebook, I came across chris google chris uh saw that he had experience and selling thing, a lot of things online and, and so I reached out to him and then we met in a lobby of a hotel bar um uh maybe a couple of weeks after I reached out to him. Yeah, that's crazy. Um and then just like bringing the concept to life and just like creating products. Like I I kind of have a little background um about like stuff like that, like what was the development process of creating it? Just asking a lot of questions on the front side of things. I didn't have any experience and woodworking um or manufacturing or just even product development. Um so you kind of start with ground zero and uh a lot of Youtube videos, a lot of Googling a lot of cold calling, uh even driving around and asking, uh, machinists and different people on how they would, how...

...they would go about making it. And really all I needed was a wood turner. Um, and it seems really, really simple that I should have gotten to that answer rather quickly, but I didn't and uh yeah, just a whole lot of questions, asking a whole lot of questions. And then when I know you guys started in, in 2014, like, well how how long was it until you, you brought the product to sell it? The first, the first one sold was in the middle of 2016. Okay. And then um like what was your, what was your eyes is uh like breakthrough because I know I actually, I have personally seen you guys before you even uh we got in touch like I've seen it like all around the place now, I think I think we're still waiting for our big break here. Uh There's a lot of breaks along the way man, like it's um it's the journey, right? It's the business, it's what it is. Our first big break was selling, you know, we filled up a tiny little mail truck and one day we're like, oh my god, look at this shit, we filled up a mail truck um uh outsourcing, right? We hired our first employee, Karen all those years ago. Um That was a big break, right? But I think it's relative to where you are in the journey. Um You know our first seven figure year, that's that's a cool break, right? Um Our first eight figure year. Like that's a that's a pretty big breakout I think. Um It's relative right? Um MLB you know, getting an MLB license, a minor league license, A Hall of Fame license, The players Association license. Um You know, I got to award get hand ken, Griffey Jr a lifetime achievement award dugout mug backstage in L. A. Like that was a cool break Randall. We did 4500 mugs and at the Braves Stadium for chipper jones night, you know, a guy that Randall idolized growing up in baseball. So to see thousands of people walking around a pro stating with your stuff in their hand, like that's a big...

...break, right? So it's just, it's a lot of things, right? And and I think do not reflect on all of them as a whole, would be a misstep. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. And then you just mentioned the last thing, like, I know that's kind of, that's like pretty hard to get like how how is getting that? Uh, it wasn't that bad, you know? Um, I think if it makes dollars, it makes sense. Right? So, um, we showed up, we sold unlicensed units hard for about a quarter and then we grabbed a p. A license and I mean, mm will be the first time we reached out. One of our, one of our team members reached out to them to get set up and they shot us down there like, yeah, we don't have, we already have enough drink where and you know, the advice I give, a lot of business people don't be scared to flex, you know? And, and we had sales, we know our shit, we know what we're doing and we flexed on them said, listen, give us a number, You know, here's our sales, here's our product, give us a number and they gave us a really stout number. Thinking that we would probably shy away from, it was well into six figures. We pull the trigger, you know, and we hit our numbers ever since. Um, sometimes you just gotta, you know, bet on your sto, right? Yeah, definitely. Um, now have you done anything? Um, like I know you kind of mentioned about like individually with any of the teams. Oh God, yeah. Um, I think a few handful of them bought our stuff for season ticket holder gifts and they buy them for, uh, ticket packages. And um, yeah, I mean, they give them away, they do promotions, MLB MLB store in new york cost a couple of days ago asking to do a promotion to help them drive some stuff for Father's Day. So Budweiser reached out to us. Right? So these big brands and these big, you know, all the teams we work together, right? Because you know, we've kind of solidify ourselves as a good brand of baseball community. So collaborating with the teams has really been a piece of cake. Uh and even more some of the players um you know, Randall's an ex player, you...

...know, we deal, we have a lot of ex players that work for us. Um and so that that's actually been the one that's been really cool for me to see is just reach out to one of the players and say, hey man, we're going to give a bunch of stuff way to fans. You autograph a couple dozen cards for me like, oh yeah, send it my way. Right. Um, so to have that are all these mugs behind me, they're all autographed and it's just crazy right to collab with the players has been the fun part for me. Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome. You know, what about, like on the, on the side of like, I've seen like videos and stuff, is any like bars like reaching out and like buying these things for the, for the bars. You pretty much assume that everybody you're about to ask about is buying these mugs, whether it's a bar or it's a team or it's a player. Um, it's, we're in seven countries now, 50 states, every pro stadium, most of the minor league clubs, I'd say half the guys in the league have our stuff in their house. So, um, everybody's reaching out and I think that's part of it is where we've done a good job of consistently telling our story and being front and center and uh, just keeping the momentum going in the conversation, going like Randall alluded to very lightly. We just showed it to more people, right? So I think that it's starting to really catch on at this point. Yeah, for sure. And then just going back, I know you just mentioned Randall play baseball. Did you guys both play baseball growing up? And how like far did you guys go? No, I didn't. I mean I played some volatile about high school, but you know, my sports always been business. That's just my, I think Randall probably has a lot more to say about that in a player for as long as he was. Yeah, I played baseball growing up and signed with the blue jays after playing college ball florida tech. Nice. So how is your minor league experience? Not a very good one. Um The best way I've ever heard it put, once you get into professional baseball, the game starts using you to better itself to where...

...baseball you've grown up and you've used the game to better yourself. Uh and that's a really good way of putting it, you just kind of get into it, it turns into a business and um just wasn't wasn't that fun for me, gotcha. And then um just going back to the mugs, um I saw you guys also expanded to to other things like the wine, wine glasses or wine, I don't even know, what do you want to call them wine mugs. Um like how did that come about? Wind up? I was scrolling through facebook and I saw an ad by one of the back companies and they had a glove mallet um which is just a mini baseball bat that people hit their gloves with brakeman faster. They had a glove mallet that was sitting exactly like a wind up sits. Uh and I stopped in my tracks. The dugout mug was already a thing, and I said, oh my gosh, somebody turned up turn the baseball bat into a wine glass. And they did it, it was just a glove mallet sitting, sitting upward and said, well, I guess that's what we're gonna do, so that's how the wind up came to be. Yeah, yeah. And then what about, what are both for both you guys? What are your goals for 20, Yeah. Uh from a business standpoint, yeah, we're hoping we're hoping to grow the company by the current trajectory that it's sad, it's growing three times the size that it was at last year, um and just being more efficient with our processes and growing, growing the top line, well the bottom line grows as well. Um I would say it's probably pretty, pretty good representation of what we're trying to, trying to accomplish. There's a couple of other initiatives that I think, um when you go from profit to purpose in life, different business, I think that's a really cool transition. And because of the speed of our growth and just the support of the baseball community, we've, we've gotten to that point quickly. Um so our cheers to charity initiative is something that I'm really...

...enjoying. Um where it's where, so the whole idea behind dugout mugs as we celebrate and serve the heroes of the baseball community by creating uniquely fun gifts that bring people closer to the game they love, like that's our mission, if you will. So our cheers to charity initiative um certainly plays into that where we select heroes in the baseball community to have charity. Some are just average joe. Um, you know, that started a little league for special needs kids right? And across the board, down in the Dominican republic, we've sent gloves and bats and balls and mugs and things like that. So, uh, to give back, I mean, anywhere between probably 15-20 different charities a year, um, we're donating, we're doing collaborations doing fundraisers with them a lot of times. It's in and around kids. Um, we've worked with big poppy, Mariano Rivera next week. We're going live with Mariano next month. It's the weeks brothers and pudge Rodriguez and Justin Turner's coming on later in the year and the Rizzo Foundation and I just was emailing with Verlander's people on his things. So, um, I think that's an initiative. I really want to see transition um, into something even bigger over the rest of this year. Um, the company and the sales and mugs are kind of doing their own thing right now, so we can kind of take our hands off that and work on some of these passion projects as well as develop a couple additional products. Um, we have to, in the pipeline right now that I think are going to be very well received, so I'd like to see those come to fruition on time and you know, and get a good push on those as well, so that's kind of my, my side of things, what I really want to see happened over the rest of the 2021 Yeah, that's awesome, definitely, looking forward to see what the new products are too. Um, and then what can you guys both tell me a little advice you would give like a young entrepreneur trying to start a business, it's probably gonna be drastically different advice from the both of us,...

...right, because our paths have been a little different, um, Randall was throwing throwing pitches and I was, you know, running businesses, you know, and so I'd say some of the stuff I've learned along the way is um, do what you do best and outsource the rest, right? Like really find out what you're, what you're good at and and stop trying to, you know, be good at everything cause you're not, you know, there's one or two pieces, there's one or two bricks that that's yours and you, you focus on those, um I believe that your network is your network. So I think, you know, connecting with the right people and being genuine about it. I think authenticity goes a long, long way um, and, and truly connecting with people, not just with the, you know, having ulterior motives, like I'm going to connect with this guy because they can do something for me. I think those are really shallow, so, so generating and creating genuine relationships I think is hugely important. And um another would be just, you know, life's too short to do shit, you hate, you know, love what you're doing, if you're not having fun, it doesn't matter if you make money or not. Usually money is a side effect of doing the right things on a regular basis, right? So you have to be doing things that you enjoy and doing things that you love. Um there's a few thoughts on top of my head, but yeah, I like that. I like the one where you said, uh, you know, you gotta do what you do best and outsourced to other people to do the other. Yeah, any business worth creating is bigger than an individual. Sure. How about how about you, Randall? Um, I guess what, like if we're talking about the very beginning stages of things, people want to be an entrepreneur. I guess the advice that I would give is the only limited resource of things is grit. There's plenty of cash out there, A ton of people want to invest in companies, they want to try to multiply their dollars, there's plenty of information, the google exists, the internet exists, you don't go to the library and go through the...

...dewey decimal system to try to figure out how to, to do anything. Um the really, if you kind of look at your situation and you say to yourself, man I wish, which could be an entrepreneur, I don't know why I'm not an entrepreneur, A lot of it probably comes down to just yourself and that you probably lack some sort of consistency and grit. So um yeah, I would say if you really want to do it then you can do it, Just can't make an excuse, You just got to, you got to do it. Yeah, for sure. You know the one I always liked randomly touch on is ask better questions yours is, Yeah, I think the way you have always alluded to is like um if you don't know something going to learn it right, that's mostly true. But the real the real part is just ask better questions, right? Ask better questions and and learn from the answers and sometimes that means you go find somebody outsource right? And and others is like you learn it, I don't think people do enough due diligence and the entrepreneurs, a lot of these days are very entitled. They think, oh, I want to start a business and it'll just run it, don't work like that, you know, it takes, like you said Magritte, you know, um it's not it's not for weak people, you got to keep going, you gotta get punched in the face and get back up again over and over and over and uh yeah, the shit goes a long way. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Yeah, I mean, I always say like, like consistency is key, like everyone always asks me, and I'm just, consistency is like, what? Like builds up everything because like, people just keep on saying you're doing it and doing and doing it well, your level of enjoyment also contributes to consistency. It's really hard to get a and do something you don't like over and over and over over. So with us, there's been plenty of tough days, but it's like, I'm having fun. You having fun, We were having fun, you know, we'll get punched in the face today, we'll lose a bunch of money today, you know? We're having fun, right? That matters more than people give it credit.

Yeah, definitely. Are you guys ready for some fun questions ready? What's your, what's your guys favorite baseball teams? I'll go with the race. All right. Whoever's buying my mugs? Yeah, I'm a raised guy. They love us. We love them. But yeah, whoever really, whoever's buying our mugs, I feel you just working in the sports industry to like, I became like less of a fan, you know, whoever like, I support whoever, supporting me, basically exactly what yourself. Um, And then who's like one person that you want to get a dugout mug in the hands of that? You haven't yet? I think there's a, I like um, Ashton kutcher. Okay. Um, Justin timberlake their Dodgers fans, Bill Murray, billy Crystal, some of those just old school, uh, legendary, you know, um, famous baseball fans. I think that would be pretty cool. Yeah, for sure, Randall you anything or not now if you're saying if we say and then maybe start trying out our, I'll throw McConaughey out there. Okay. Um What about, what do you guys like to do in your free time when you're not working on your business? Um I've been having a lot of fun with baseball cards personally. Um At first I was like, oh god, I'm shame but like it's a kid again thing, it's been super fun for me, so I'm playing with that outside of that. I like to golf fish chill. Yeah, pretty lucky. Yeah the baseball thing uh went crazy during the whole virus uh kind of blew up again and now like Pokemon cards are back and like I just saw, I don't know if you guys saw like target is not selling baseball cards or Pokemon cards anymore because the lines were so crazy. People were waiting outside like 6:00 AM. It's nuts. Yes. Crazy.

Uh Chris was getting into the cards and he was telling me about that. He said he tried to go to target just to look for him. This is before he discovered that uh that they have like regulations on when you can actually come in there and try to buy him. And he was telling me all about it. I thought it was insane. Yeah. Well I opened up an old box, old shoebox I had from the early 90s and I found four Derek Jeter Rookie cards Just sitting in a shoebox all mint condition. And uh I was like, oh these probably $5. Well they're all like 15 ones like 800 and I was like Holy Crap. So I was like, so I started playing around it again, it's becoming problematic, you know? Well I'm not fishing and golfing right? So obviously something wrong here and fix that. And then and then you see them all graded and all that and now all the grading system back up and now like new ones are coming up. It's crazy. It's ridiculous. It's just silly. But we did so one of things to do with Doug because I'm really big on customer experience. Um we bought like 12 little over 12,000 packs of 1989 tops and we're just throwing one in every box. Uh that goes out the door right now just so that when people get this box, they get to rip open a 30 something year old pack of baseball cards. Find like old, like these right here like old Mark McGwire and Nolan Ryan and just anyway, Ryan Sandberg. It's just fun, it's a it's a fun experience. So we're playing into that a little bit. Yeah for sure. Have you guys heard about like these N. F. T. S. And all that stuff? Like the crypto something? Kryptos? Oh yeah, very much so. I've been I've been involved in investing in the crypto space um Since before, it was cool. The N. F. T. S are interesting. I'm gonna wrap my head around that, but I think there's a play with dugout and N. F. T. S. I just haven't kinda got my hands wrapped all the way around that yet. But um yeah, I mean we try to stay in front of the trends you know, dodge coin or does coin, whatever, trying to...

...contact, you know, trying to figure out how we can accept does coin for um dugout mugs, maybe sell 1000 mugs at you know, $100 coin to eat or something. We'll see what happens, but we like staying ahead and stay in fun, staying relevant. And it's like I said, it's a good time. No. Yeah, I like that. Um I think that's like the key to just like you said, stay with the trends for any business now. Um But yeah, I appreciate you guys coming on. And could you let them have you let the listeners know where they can follow you and dugout mugs everywhere, dugouts dot com, yep. And and uh the one thing we're doing for Father's Day right now, there's a free knob shots are knob shots that we have, it's a baseball bat handle hollowed out into a shot glass. We're giving these away. Um They're normally 30 bucks, but Uh instead we're giving them away for just pay like $9 shipping and handling any MLB team, whatever. So it's dugout mugs dot com forward slash knob shot promo. And uh, you can get them for like $9 to your door. It's really sweet deal, appreciate it. Yeah, no doubt. Thank you.

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