Brian Lim - The Emazing Group
Founder & CEO
Since 2010, The Emazing Group has been the comprehensive e-commerce solution for passion-driven consumer lifestyle brands. With unique and innovative brands such as EmazingLights, iHeartRaves and INTO THE AM, The Emazing Group has successfully created and scaled market-leading companies, empowering a lifestyle of self-expression one individual at a time.
A few years ago, our Brian Lim appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank, where he received offers from all five sharks and ended up accepting deals from Mark Cuban and Daymond John.
Here's that episode of Shark Tank for your viewing pleasure. Click Here
"Shark Tank Contestant Dishes His Secret to Sustainable Growth" with Brian Lim
[Audio Unavailable - Full Transcript Below]
Grant Segall: We are on our way. Hi, this is Grant Segall and I'm joined by Brian Lim. Brian, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Brian Lim: Hey guys. My Name is Brian Lim. Started off EmazingLights in 2010. It's a cool product called gloving. It's LED lights at your fingertips. It's a neat dance art form. We used those profits to create a second company called iHeartRaves, which caters to all the festival goers, so all the crazy festival apparel that you see them wearing, that's from us. Then we acquired a third brand, called INTO THE AM Clothing, which focuses on higher-end, premium, allover print clothing. Collectively, we like to call ourselves the Emazing Group and at the end of the day, we're e-commerce experts that like to sell stuff online.
Grant Segall: Could you list all the websites for our listeners and our readers that you referred to?
Grant Segall: If someone is a potential e-commerce business owner and they're looking to grow their profits, what sort of things would you say to them that might help them grow their business if you could pick out one or maybe two things that you should focus on when growing an e-commerce brand?
Brian Lim: Gosh, there are so many things you can do to grow an e-commerce brand. I mean, that's the fun part of it. If you're really forcing me to pick one or two, I guess it would also go back to what stage of brand you're at. I mean, if you're sub-$1 million, under $5 million, under $10, under $20 ... for us right now, we're about to hit the $20 million mark this year, top-line revenue, and one thing that's very clear to me is it's all about the team members that you have. It's all about hiring. I was reading a Valve's Handbook the other day and they were saying that hiring is more important than breathing. I wholeheartedly believe in that. A-team members are worth more than any individual thing that you can focus on. Everyone loves conversion rate optimization.
It's great, but if you don't have the right team member that's leading the charge there or helping you execute, it's always going to be very limited, especially from the CEO's perspective or the founder's perspective. You're always going to be stuck in kind of a circle because you're always going to have to touch all of these departments unless you can really find good A-team members that can own that space and grow it with a lot of you meddling in there so you can focus on things that you can do in the company.
Grant Segall: Right. That's a great perspective because we run across a lot of businesses that are in that area where they hit what, $1 million. They're trying to go to $20 to $50 and hiring is very important for the growth. Maybe you've had some bad experiences. Is there one you want to talk about or kind of-
Brian Lim: There are so many ups and downs. I would say our process for hiring today is light years ahead of where we were before. We were 100% bootstrapped, so we were limited in terms of the budget that we had for salaries, the benefits, so we had to be super scrappy initially. As the company kept on growing and growing and growing, the folks that couldn't keep up kind of weeded themselves out and as we hired the next batch of folks, the bar was just so much higher that we just got stronger as a team because our hiring process just got stronger and stronger. We're vetting people out much better than before. It's a very exhaustive interview process. At the end of the day, it's worth every single penny, and I truly believe hiring is the most important thing you can do.
Grant Segall: Yeah. What's that expression? "Hire slow, fire fast." Isn't that what some people say?
Brian Lim: Yep. It definitely helps most entrepreneurs. That's for sure.
Grant Segall: I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that you were on Shark Tank. Can you tell us a little bit about that real briefly, how that experience went?
Brian Lim: It was one of the most life-changing experiences, one of the best experiences ever. We got a great deal with Mark and Damon. We got tons of press. We got tons of new eyeballs from the consumer's side of things onto our brand. It really put us on the map in terms of being a great e-commerce brand. Today, it gets brought up pretty much with everyone else I meet, so it's something that I think is going to follow me for a very long time and couldn't be more appreciative of that opportunity.
Grant Segall: That's wonderful. I'd love to be on Shark Tank. I'm sure a lot of the entrepreneurs would love to be on Shark Tank, so it's like the holy grail.
Brian Lim: Oh, it's stressful. It's not all roses and daisies by any means. I was in that tank for about two hours of them just grilling you, fighting just to speak, and they're just all over each other. They cut that down into a 10-minute segment that makes it look a lot more PC, but let's just say that they are sharks. That's for sure.
Grant Segall: Wow. Well, thanks so much for your time today, Brian. Let's wrap this up and tell us all your websites again and where we can find you on the internet.
Grant Segall: Well, I appreciate your time today. Thank you so much.
Brian Lim: Thanks, Grant. Take care.