Innovative Design in the Fashion Market With Max Perez

max perez from XSuit stars on the 7 figure blueprints podcast by wunderads

Hey, e-commerce friends. Today I’m very excited to have Max Perez on the show. Max basically invented a James Bond suit, literally. It has nanotechnology inside. It’s a zero maintenance suit using nanotechnology. It has the benefits of being odor free, wrinkle proof and liquid proof. It requires less cleaning, There’s no ironing, and a lot of more benefits. So, today I’m very pleased to talk to Max. Max is also a mentor to some of our mutual friends in our network, where he’s mentoring e-commerce entrepreneurs. And Max, please allow me to be your student today. I would love to learn a little bit more about your background, your mindset and your approach to e-commerce, especially your approach to design when it comes to suits.

If you want to connect with Max, we have a Facebook group. Max will be also part of that group. And this is only for e-commerce owners so feel free to join us. 

Max Perez: A Brief Intro

So, my background. I’m originally from Canada, Montreal. I started studying graphic design before I made my way to China. My family has run a trading company in China for over 30 years. My dad saw the future of China 30 years ago, came down here, opened a company, brought my two older brothers, who are much older than me, 20 plus years, and brought them here to join the family business. I started off in garment fashion trading. My uncle has a big clothing brand in Canada, as well. This is something that our whole family has been doing for a while. My grandmother, by the way, she was a seamstress, making some luxury clothing back in the day.

But anyhow, when I started studying graphic design in Canada, my brothers pushed me to come to China. They told me that China’s the future and I should definitely come check it out, and perhaps consider studying here. So I got here at 17 years old. I had done one semester in university in Canada, and at that point I started studying Chinese, and I excelled at that and actually was offered a job right out of school as a creative assistant for a big PR firm. That’s how my professional career started, even though in the back of my mind I always wanted to get into fashion. But I was young, the money was great, it was an opportunity, so I took it.

So, I worked with this company. I grew up in the ranks, working there for five years. Within the second year, I was promoted to creative director. I, by the way, taught myself everything about web design, graphic design, as well as some sales and marketing, all self-taught and grew really quickly in the company, the creative director on the second year.

And within the fourth year, I became one of the managing directors for one of our departments, managing things like visuals, and so on, for some big clients we had; for example, Bacardi Group. We were working with alcohol brands, furniture brands, and so on. I was managing part of the events, the visual creation, etc. That lasted a total of five years. Towards the fifth year, I decided that that was it. I had gained enough experience, and I really wanted to start my own business in fashion.

At that point, I had a friend who actually was interested in partnering up. He offered to give me equity. He had a lot of money, and he believed in the idea that I had, and wanted to give me equity. I approached my family at that point saying, “Can you guys help me to bring the product to life?” since that was their expertise. And my family spun on me and said, “Don’t take money from that guy. Let’s partner up, us, and let’s start this business as a family business. And we’ll help you out for the procurement, the supply chain, all that kind of stuff. And you can focus on design and marketing.” And in the end, that’s the route I took. We signed an agreement, my brothers and I.

And at that point, I actually went to fashion school. I wanted to really do this the right way, my brothers as well. So I enrolled in a school called IFA; it’s a university from Paris that had a subsidiary in Shanghai. It’s the International Fashion Academy. I studied there—pattern making, design and whatnot. I wasn’t doing it for a diploma, I was doing it for the experience and the knowledge. 

I didn’t finish the entirety of the program, I dropped out halfway through. My teachers were also telling me that I had pretty much learned everything I needed to learn. Especially knowing that I was going to start a business right behind it, not looking for a job, they felt that I had learned enough in that time that I was there.

And that was basically the start of the brand, at that point. This must have been, I guess, 2016 when we started, when I had finished school. While I was in school, I was working on developing the product, and that’s pretty much where the brand or company started. It was at that point.

Episode Highlights

That’s what I should do, create a comfortable suit that’s actually useful in our modern lifestyle, which is very dynamic, active, where you’re going from here to there, you’re moving a lot, you’re traveling a lot, and so on. (9:38)

I remember the Business Insider video had four and a half million views on Facebook, one and a half million views on YouTube. That was one of the videos that went viral and obviously helped us to propel all of this much quicker. It was obviously a very big success in our eyes, where we had anticipated 50K—ended up with 650K. (25:26)

I do not take the approach where I have the final word. The people that, like I said, I work with, I feel are very competent and I really value their opinion. I always will give my opinion, I will never bite my tongue. But in the end, I give a lot of responsibility to the individual in making the right judgment call, as if not, they would not be in the position that they are. (30:31)

We want to be bold, we want to be different. We do not want to follow the status quo in terms of how a suit should be worn, just to further underline specifically the stretch of our suit, since it does have a crazy amount of stretch, it enables you to do pretty much anything you would in some sportswear. (41:05)

xSuit Beginnings

When I was in school, I was still unsure in terms of which product I wanted to come up with. At that point, I was quite a fashion guy, and I was considering going into street wear. That was when this whole street wear craze was at its peak, and there were a lot of luxury street wear brand names like Amiri, Fear of God, Off-White, brands of the sort. That’s the direction I wanted to take. But I felt the market was oversaturated and there was already so many brands, so much competition in the market. 

When I was working in the corporate world, I had to wear suits every day. That was obviously the uniform. And to be honest with you, I really liked how people perceived you. You know how we have that saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”?

I think that it’s completely wrong, especially when it comes to business. A lot of people, as much as we shouldn’t, judge people by their outer look, we still naturally, subconsciously do.

Until you meet them and then you realize they could be someone completely different. So, I was young, working in that corporate company, and because I was wearing a suit, also fortunate enough to have a beard at a young age, I was given this impression that I was an older gentleman who had more experience, because of my attire. 

When I was conceptualizing which product I wanted to get into, I remembered that there were a few events that were happening within a few weeks apart. I went to an event, a big event, a fashion show or something. I was wearing a suit coming out of the taxi. As I pulled my leg out of the taxi, my pant ripped at the center seam. There was another event that I was at, got in the event, took a glass of whatever it might have been, champagne or something, and accidentally the waiter bumped into me, spilt on myself. And then the whole night I was smelling champagne off my suit.

There were just a few things like that, back to back. I was sitting with my brothers one day just having a drink, and I’m like, “Why did nobody come out with a stretch suit?” I had bought 15, 20 suits by that time, I was looking for a comfortable suit. There was always advertising of stretch, but they were two, three percent spandex on the outside, the inside lining was still stiff. 

And it just hit me, it was an epiphany, “Why is there no real stretch suit?” We’re talking about Lululemon style fabrics made in a suit. And that’s how the idea came to me. It was, again, a combination and a compilation of small events, experience and whatnot; that’s how an epiphany works. It just all came together in that one moment;

"That's what I should do, create a comfortable suit that's actually useful in our modern lifestyle, which is very dynamic, active, where you're going from here to there, you're moving a lot, you're traveling a lot, and so on."

Max Perez Quote

That’s where the idea sparked and further developed.

With that in mind, saying, “I want a comfortable suit,” it went into, “Let’s make it not just physically comfortable, but also comfortable in the way you maintain it.” We all know suits are a hassle to maintain. You get a wrinkle, you need your steamer, you get it dirty, you can’t wash it at home, you got to take it to the dry cleaner, drive down, spend 15, 20 bucks, drive it back. Essentially, you’re babying the suit. And that’s where that second part of the product features came into play.

xSuit Tech

We started, obviously, with the fabric, since in fashion that’s one of the two most important components. You have fabric and you have construction. When we looked at fabric, I went from the top down, meaning luxury, high end brands, all the way to the mass market stuff. 

I was looking at Zegna, Armani, things of the kind, buying samples, checking them out, all the way down to something maybe more mass market like Suitsupply, even Zara. I was really trying to get a widespread on what’s available to understand better. Not only suits—I was also buying jackets and sportswear, and really spending the time to analyze what fabric makes sense, because you can’t just use any kind of sport fabric on a suit. It won’t drape well, it won’t have that suit outer look. If you’re not using the right fabric, it’ll give you the impression of a tracksuit just with the suit lapel.

That was the first step in understanding the fabric. The grammage; things like, when it comes to knit fabrics, which are very different than woven, there’s a lot of things to consider, like shrinkage. When you wear a knit fabric over an extended period of time, like your t-shirt, you’ll see it starts to bubble, which is very normal for knit fabrics. If you’re wearing sweatpants, you start to get that bubbling around your knee after you sit down all day long, super normal of knit. I was trying to find ways of mitigating that, and having it as less as possible, since a suit does have to have this outer appearance. The fabric was definitely very important. We spent a lot of time looking for the best fabric out there, not looking at price, necessarily, but more so at quality and the kind of features that we wanted—the hand feel, the weight of it.

If you look at that technology page, something else that I mentioned is obviously the testing to do with the fabric. We spent a lot of time testing it specifically because we wanted the suit to be machine-washable. We took it through all kinds of wear and tear wash cycles to make sure that it could last as long as a woven suit. Once we had decided on the fabric we wanted to go with, we had gone through all that testing, that’s when the whole no-maintenance nanotechnology came into place. 

We knew of nanotechnology, and we wanted to make sure that the nanotechnology, as it is a finishing that’s applied throughout the manufacturing of the fabric, that it was not going to affect the fabric’s core integrity in terms of the hand feel, as these kind of finishings normally can make fabrics feel stiffer, they can also affect its shrinkage and stability.

We were going through a bunch of different brands of nanotechnology. The biggest one is Gore-Tex. They use nanotechnology on a lot of their fabrics, they’re the industry standard. And we were looking at all the different alternatives. A suit fabric can go from two, three dollars a meter all the way to infinity, as you’re getting into the luxury brands. Nanotechnology—the same thing. 

It’s a chemical that can go from, say, 10 cents a meter all the way to two, three, four, five dollars a meter. We were testing out the right formula, making sure that the chemicals are not harmful to both the environment and your skin, as you wear it for an extended period of time. Obviously, the longer lasting you want this finishing to be, the more chemicals need to be added, the more it affects the actual fabric.

This was a lot of trial and error, a lot of problems in the development stage. You need to remember when you’re sampling something, it’s very different from mass producing it. Sampling is in a controlled environment. You have to consider all these things when developing such a product. Start to finish, it took about a year to get to the final product, to make sure that we were happy. 

Now, was I completely happy? No, obviously, as a creator, you see things that maybe the mass market will not see. Most people will not see. At that point, was I happy? No. But how much longer can you drag a development stage? You have to put out the product on the market for people to give you their honest feedback, and for you to keep doing those improvements. But that was basically the entirety of the design process.

In terms of actual patterns, things of the kind, it’s pretty simple today. It’s pretty standardized. We used some Italian pattern maker, the 80/20 rule, made sure it fit 80% of the people at the start, using more of a modern cut, neither slim nor loose. And details, likewise, something a little bit more modern that can be liked by both the older generation as much as a younger one. 

At the launch, I also launched a little bit more funky fly style with the hood. I don’t know if you saw that on the Kickstarter page. We had a hooded suit with zippers with sport cuffs, which was to further emphasize that this is the next generation of suits. 

Of course, the classic one was the one that sold the most. But I decided to launch something a little bit avantgarde, out there, just to further underline what we were trying to create here, which was the in-between of the sports world and the classic suiting world. And that’s pretty much, start to finish, how the whole design process went.

xSuit Target Audience

Essentially, when I started the brand, my idea was to convert young people to want to wear suits again. In my circle at that time, I was seeing that suits were no longer the go-to outfit. If you had a choice, you would definitely go more for a t-shirt, pair of jeans, a more casual shirt. That was initially my idea with this suit, “I’m going to create a product that a younger demographic, the ones that are starting their career out, would really want to get into.” We’re talking about people that are 25 to 35 years old—younger men.

That’s what I originally had envisioned for the brand, which ironically shifted super quickly after launching. And actually our target demographic became more 35 to 50. I guess the reason being that those guys were more used to wearing suits, were wearing suits way more often than a young adult. 

The solutions that our product offered were more tailored to them, as they felt the problem more, since they wore suits for X amount of years. Whereas a younger guy might have different priorities. He’s right out of school, he’s looking for something cheap on sale, he might go to Zara, just try to get something cheap, as he’s starting his career. He also doesn’t really know the pain points of a suit, because he didn’t really experience it. He didn’t wear a suit for five, 10 years to be like, “I’ve had these issues.” Funny enough, our demographic shifted very quickly after launching.

From Brick and Mortar to D2C

Funny enough, that was not the initial plan. Being in China, they, at that time at least, were way more advanced when it came to e-commerce than the western world was. A platform called Taobao, which is essentially Amazon of Asia, was just going through the roof. Amazon hadn’t yet had the market share they have today. Amazon was just starting. They just had very select products, while Taobao had everything. And what I mean by everything, like food, you could buy a car, you could buy whatever you want on Taobao. It was endless.

And I, at that point, started to shift, even before we started the brand. I was already shifting say 50, 60, 70% of my purchases to Taobao, to the online e-commerce. And we just saw the opportunity with Taobao, my brothers and I, “We have to launch this product, first of all, in China,” as everybody knows, China was becoming this buying power. We’re like, “It makes sense as foreigners, for a foreign brand to come into China and launch it online, DTC.” 

So, I was already preparing to have this launched online. That was already the thought process that was going through my mind. And what ended up happening was we had a good friend here, Vuk, who launched a successful Indiegogo campaign. He did a battery pack for computers, a larger battery pack that could charge your MacBook—two, three charges. He launched it on Indiegogo as I was preparing my marketing material, and he did about two million US on Indiegogo. It was a massive campaign that exploded.

And I was hanging out with him, we were talking about it, and he just told me, “Max, why don’t you launch this?” China has crowdfunding, but it’s not as big as the US, and people don’t believe it as much. He’s like, “Why don’t you launch this product? It has the whole tech element which fits in well with Kickstarter’s demographic, why don’t you try launching this on Kickstarter?” And, at that point, that was the pivotal moment where we’re like, “Why don’t we try it? What do we have to lose?” 

Worst case scenario, we don’t get funded and we keep going the route we originally wanted, launching this in China through Taobao. Best case scenario, it succeeds and we get a bunch of customers in the US. That was when the decision was made for Kickstarter.

Raised 650k: The Most Funded Suit Ever

Correct. Again, this all happened super quickly. It was about three, four months before we launched that I started preparing all the material. I did a lot of the graphic design myself. I got an agency to do a nice video for us, and managing the ads, lead generation and so on. We didn’t think too much of it. I think we did a $50000 goal. We were up the day we launched it, we were obviously in China, so we launched it our nighttime, which was daytime for the US, and my brothers and I were hanging out together just looking at how this is going to perform. 

We pushed it as well to our network. And we just saw it hit the $50000 mark, I think it was in 12 hours that we hit that mark, which was crazy. And we just saw, I remember, I think it was 24 hours we hit 70K. I think we have it all in Kickstarter, the timeline of how much we hit, we were obviously sharing it with our community.

And then at that point we were like, “Wow, there’s a big interest in the product.” We got a PR agency right away. They got us into Business Insider, Mashable and all these other magazines, which just amplified the effect of all of this.

I remember that the Business Insider video had four and a half million views on Facebook, one and a half million views on YouTube. That was one of the videos that went viral and obviously helped us to propel all of this much quicker. It was obviously a very big success in our eyes, where we had anticipated 50K, ended up with 650.

Max Perez Quote

Working With Agencies and Outsourcing

We used to outsource everything, and we don’t anymore. Our entire marketing department is in house today. To be honest with you, in terms of marketing agencies, for me, it’s really a hit or miss. We’ve worked with one, two, three, four, five, six, seven agencies to date, as far as I can remember. Essentially, the way I see it is, when you’re running an e-commerce brand, you cannot be the jack of all trades, both when it comes to your product, meaning you obviously don’t want to disperse yourself too much on your product lineup. 

But I think the same can be said when it comes to your operations, especially when you’re in the startup stage. Of course, when you are bigger, when you have a lot of money, your pockets are deep, then you could get into everything. But, when you start off, you need to understand where your strengths are and where your weaknesses are.

That can be done in a couple different ways. One way can be partnering up where you have weaknesses. When you start a business, let’s say you are a designer and that’s what you’re good at, but you’re not an operational guy, nor a marketing sales guy. You could find people who are and partner with them, and say, “Let’s do this together, split it three ways. You take care of the operation. You don’t know anything about the product, I’ll take care of the product, and you take care of the marketing.” 

Or you can go, “I want to manage this business. I want to be the sole owner of the business.” Then you have to go through agencies, operations, outsourcing, whatever it may be, shipping, manufacturing, finding a trading company to help you source the product, finding a 3PL to manage the warehousing, the shipping, and so on. 

Same thing, marketing—finding a marketing agency to do all the lead acquisition and nurturing, etc. At the beginning, I was managing the product a little bit more, as well as the operations. So we started by outsourcing the marketing, and we obviously switched a lot of marketing agencies as I was not pleased with the results, all the way til about the end of 2020, when we started to internalize the department.

And from there on to today, everything’s done in-house. Now, in-house is a big word. We have about 12 people that are working in marketing. Not every single one of those 12 people are actually full-time employees in the office. I do have freelancers that we use, not necessarily freelancers, I would say more long-term contractors, but it’s all done within our sphere of control. It’s not like I’m sending a brief, the marketing agency is doing things, sending it back to us. We are controlling every single aspect of the marketing.

Marketing Strategy Involvement

Completely. In every single step of the process. I’m actually pretty involved in every single department of the company. I obviously have some very good coworkers in the company that I value, every single one of those people’s opinion, and I trust a lot of their judgment. But at the same time, I am involved, not to micromanage or to be on top of people’s heads, but because I want to be a part of the entire company’s growth, and I value every single one of the departments that operate here. Everything from design to production, to shipping, to customer service, to sales, and then retention. So, in terms of marketing, super involved.

I do not take the approach where I have the final word. The people that I work with, I feel are very competent and I really value their opinion. I always will give my opinion, I will never bite my tongue. But in the end, I give a lot of responsibility to the individual in making the right judgment call, as if not, they would not be in the position that they are. 

I consider our company to be like a big family. I don’t think that in a family, the right approach is to come in as the boss, totalitarian boss, and be like, “This is how it’s going to be, and that’s it.” Of course, there are some places where you need to be a little bit tougher. It cannot also just be a big playpen where everything goes. There are some, let’s say, rules, some guidelines that we go by. But in general, every decision is made as a team, as a whole. So, very involved, definitely, in marketing. I think that that’s an integral part in every DTC company, is the marketing.

Max Perez Quote

Marketing Channels

Marketing channels altogether, of course, top of funnel—that’ll always be advertising, online ads. I think that as a DTC brand, it doesn’t really matter what product you’re pushing, I think advertising will always be number one in terms of both spend and lead acquisition. Now, the actual advertising channel can defer, depending on the demographic. So as an example, if you’re targeting a younger demographic, that might be TikTok over Instagram. 

As we all know, TikTok has a bigger following and engagement rate. But, regardless, advertising will be king for the foreseeable future, as far as I see it. So, advertising is very important. We obviously go into Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google Ads, and I think that’s pretty much it—for advertising. Then of course, that’s more top of funnel, now you have people’s eyes on your website. 

Website is very important. Everything from design to the conversion rate optimization, which is something that’s a little bit more intricate and micro. This comes a little bit later on. I don’t think that at the beginning it’s something that you need to worry too much about, when you’re starting off, but it is quite important, CRO, making sure that your website, your visitors aren’t falling through.

Then you want to make sure you’re going into email and SMS marketing. Capturing those leads, depending on the product you’re selling. A lot of products, especially higher ticket items, will not be impulse purchases. It will take a bit of time for people to do their research, come back, see you two, three times before they make a purchase. So, make sure you collect their emails, their phone numbers, and you remarket to them, nurturing. Again, an ad is just a very quick thing, your brain can’t absorb all the information. So, taking the time to actually explain to them what your product does, how it benefits them, and so on, that can be better done through email, SMS, of course, your website, as well.

Social media. Now again, advertising is done on social media, primarily, with the exception of Google Search. Making sure that your social media looks good is important, as a lot of people that’ll come on Instagram see an ad, the first thing they might do is click on that little icon to go onto your account. 

I think that social media marketing is going to depend greatly on your audience, your demographic, and so on. I believe that our audience is not as engaged on social media, being that they are 35 plus, based on what we’ve seen, they’re higher net worth people. They don’t have the time to be super engaging on social media, whereas a younger demographic, maybe more females, might spend more time on social media. 

Depending on who your demographic is, that’s how you know what kind of strategy you want to implement on social media, whether it’s just a catalog, whether you want it to be a very community-centric place where you’re sharing content, whether it’s a lot of UGC, etc. Social media definitely has its place, and it goes hand in hand with advertising.

Then the other aspect, which goes with the other point of advertising, which is Google Search, has to do with SEO, as well. SEO is quite important. SEO has a higher intent than social media advertising. People are normally coming on Google to look for something with the intent to find something, to purchase something.

That’s why Amazon is more powerful of a platform, because normally people come on Amazon looking to purchase. Nobody goes on Amazon just to say, “I’m going to go read that blog.” They come on with that intent. So, I think SEO is quite important, especially with your demographic. Something like a suit, it’s more expensive. It’s not something that you’re going to just buy immediately. That’s something that you’re definitely going to be researching on Google before you purchase. Whereas, toilet paper, if you’re in the toilet paper industry, I don’t think people are necessarily googling which is the best toilet paper, what are the different plies, etc. Knowing your demographic, your segment, is important in all of that.

The last thing that we also do, marketing-wise, will be affiliates and PR. I bundle those together. Obviously, there’s a couple ways of doing PR; you can do paid PR, you can do earned PR—tricky, expensive. You want to make sure that you’re riding a wave. Very hard to get PR just out of nowhere. On Kickstarter, we waited to see the boom before we started the PR, because we were riding that wave. The wave was there, the demand was there. That’s a good time to plug PR, because then they’re riding with you, and they’ll be, “Oh my god, this product is exploding. Now’s the time to write about it.”

But I bundle it with affiliates. Why I bundle it with affiliates is because affiliates essentially are a form of PR. They are doing some kind of public relation for you. You can definitely find some smaller media outlets, like blogs, who will take a commission off sales that they bring in from their platform. 

There are also some paid PR outlets, even big boys, that will write up to get commission on articles. That kind of paid PR will not be centric on your product and brand, it will be more centric on a subject and then just discretely plugging your product in. But that’s also a great channel of acquisition, if done right.

I believe that those are the main channels that we work on primarily. There is one other thing to mention when it comes to these channels. To be able to do these channels properly, there’s another aspect of the marketing, which is the content. The content is super important. Every single one of those channels has a form of content that needs to be created, whether that be video, pictures, graphics, copywriting in the form of articles, blogs and so on. Every one of those channels, you cannot just go on to those channels without having the right content to go along with them. 

This is where having the right content is far more important than trying to have multiple channels. So especially when you’re a starting company, you don’t have all the resources to spread yourself thin, doing something as basic as focusing on great video content to push on Facebook and then a good email flow segment, that basic formula will be enough for you to scale at the get-go.

The only last thing that I would include in there is having a good landing page, as well, where people can convert. I think that’s a great starting formula before you start to expand.

Youtube as a Marketing Channel

Actually YouTube is not something that we spend too much energy on, currently. It’s something that we just started about six months ago, and we are planning now in Q4 to really start pumping intensely. We’re just doing some small tests, reusing content from Facebook, Instagram, and so on. Essentially, we’re trying to give a different spin on suits than a classic brand would, in terms of the approach to content production. 

Like you mentioned, using martial artists, break dancers, professional BMX riders, snowboarders, using things that normally you would not see somebody doing in a suit. That’s just one of the various content approaches that we’re taking.

 We want to be bold, we want to be different. We do not want to follow the status quo in terms of how a suit should be worn, just to further underline specifically the stretch of our suit, since it does have a crazy amount of stretch, it enables you to do pretty much anything you would in some sportswear.

I think that, content being super important, that is definitely an area that we spend a lot of time and resources to produce. I think that that’s where everything starts off from, that first visual hook that you’re able to get somebody into your bubble, which is your brand.

xSuit Vision

Doing exactly what we’ve done with the xSuit; just applying it in all kinds of different items, whether that be expanding in colors, in different products that are just auxiliary products of the main suit. I don’t need to tell you, but all the different ones, like sweaters, polos, jackets, coats, going into accessories such as bags, underwear, socks… Whatever a working man might need, we want to establish ourselves as the go-to performance work wear brand where anything that you would want to wear at the office, we can supply to you with; of course, low maintenance, high functionality, super comfort.

Favorite Ecom Resources

You’ve got a lot of courses online. When it comes specifically to content production, since that’s something that we highlighted as being quite important, I went through Harmon Brothers University. Harmon Brother is an agency that produces some of the most viral videos on YouTube with millions and millions of views. I think it’s great content there. 

Also, our company attends both Ad World and Ecom World. Both of those are great to see what bigger brands are doing and to nitpick at their ideas. I’m also on a bunch of different podcasts, I think podcasts are great. I don’t think you need much direction for that. Just go on Apple, I think Spotify has podcasts, as well. You just research some keywords, like email marketing, advertising, and you’ll find a bunch of people.

Again, I don’t think there’s one specific guru. I think it’s great to listen to as many different people, and make up your own ideas. Except for that, I am part of some communities on Slack. Something for more startups, smaller companies would be Oddit.com. They have a great Slack channel where they can really help you out with optimizing your website, your ads, your content and so on, and give you resources on where to look for people. 

Then, if you are in the more developed stages of a startup, meaning in the millions of dollars in revenue per year, you can check out Foxwell. They’re the level up of Oddit. These are companies that are doing three, five million plus. Again, similar, you can shoot around some information, ask questions, they’ll share the resources. So those are the ones currently that I’m going through. Of course, Twitter, as you very well know, is always a great place to find people.

I think, in the beginning, it’s a little bit of pay-to-play to get that initial traction. Then, there’s the earned media route, which can also be very expensive, where you pay a PR company. They’re constantly pitching you to various outlets and publications and newspapers, and then they’ll do write-ups on you. We haven’t done that yet, because I feel we are still not quite there yet. That can be an expensive monthly retainer. 

Most times, you just pay by product, basically, swap a product for a review. You have a high-price point product, so I’m not exactly sure how that works. Would they take the product? Or do you pay them an amount? Or is it just different each time?

Every guy’s different. It really depends on their blog size or their website, how much traffic they get. Some guys are happy to just take a product and do a review in exchange. Some of the bigger ones, they’re going to want some type of fee up front.

How to Connect

The best thing is always going to be my email address. I reply to every single email. I’m on emails 24/7. My email is max@xsuit.com. M-A-X@ the website name. Just reach out by email. If I don’t answer that same day, I will for sure by the next day. That’s always the best way to reach out to me.

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