top of page

Beyond Competition: ChargeTab’s Secret to Uncharted Market Success

Are you tired of competing in crowded markets? Or in despair because you can’t sell your brand-new innovation as no one understands the product and it has no pre-existing category? Worry no more because the solution may be closer than you think; by identifying uncontested market niches, you can drive new demand for your product. Just like our guest on this episode of the Harvest Growth Podcast did, to phenomenal success. Meet Mark Lieblein, Founder of ChargeTab, a category-defining product that has experienced exponential growth online and through major retailers like Walmart and Home Depot.

ChargeTab is a pre-charged, lightweight emergency charger that customers can return for recycling and earn discounts. Unlike standard power banks, ChargeTab caters to a distinct need: an emergency charger that buyers can use without charging first. Mark realized his target buyers were not seeking a better power bank but a unique solution for staying connected in emergencies or power cut-offs.

In this interview, Mark shares how he identified an uncontested market category and its impact on sales - and how he bootstrapped his way into Walmart and other large retailers without a sales team or substantial marketing budget. If you are looking to accelerate business growth, tune in now!


In today’s episode of the Harvest Growth Podcast, we’ll cover:

  • Managing the challenges of being a first-mover and category innovator

  • The importance of launching Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) campaigns for businesses selling through retail or directly to customers

  • Leveraging unique business models and operations as a competitive advantage

  • Tips for thriving and succeeding as a bootstrapper

  • And much more!


You can listen to the full interview on your desktop or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Or, click to watch the full video interview here!


Learn more about ChargeTab’s pre-charged emergency chargers and how they can help you at You will also learn more about its unique recycling program, custom branding options, and why people love the ChargeTab.

To be a guest on our next podcast, contact us today!

Do you have a brand that you’d like to launch or grow? Do you want help from a partner that has successfully launched hundreds of brands that now total over $2 billion in revenues? Set up a free consultation with us today!


Prefer reading instead of listening? Read the full transcript here!

Jon LaClare [00:00:00]:

Today's guest sells his product on the shelves of Walmart, Home Depot, and many other retailers, and he's grown his online business exponentially. Along the way, he discusses how he originally got into brick-and-mortar retailers and gives some great advice for dealing with the inherent hardships and struggles that often come with being an entrepreneur.

Announcer [00:00:18]:

Are you looking for new ways to make your sales grow? You've tried other podcasts, but they don't seem to know harvest the growth potential of your product or service as we share stories and strategies that'll make your competitors nervous. Now here's the host of the Harvest Growth podcast, Jon LaClare.

Jon LaClare [00:00:39]:

Welcome back to the show. Today I'm super excited to be speaking with Mark Lee Bline, who is the founder of ChargeTab. You can see their products at ChargeTab. C H A R G E T A B as in boy dot com. We'll put it all in the show notes. Of course we'll talk more about it and you'll get to know the product today. But first of all, this is a super cool product and a great story behind it. So I want to welcome you to the show.

Jon LaClare [00:00:59]:


Mark Lieblein [00:01:00]:

Hey John, how are you doing?

Jon LaClare [00:01:02]:

Great. Well, thanks so much for joining us. Take the time. I know you're super busy, but I want to talk about your product first. We'll get into some of the fun stories behind it in a few minutes as well. But for our audience's sake, can you share with us what is the ChargeTab?

Mark Lieblein [00:01:17]:

Yeah, so they say. Motherhood. Necessity is a motherhood of invention. There was no product on the market that was pre charged, lightweight, ready to go when you needed it, inexpensive. And I just came up with something that I could give my twelve year old son, who I'd be dropping off at school at 730 in the morning with a dead phone, knowing he would never get through the day. And it's been a roller coaster for the last six years. A lot of wins, a lot of losses, huge successes and a lot of heartbreaks. But it's been a fun ride.

Jon LaClare [00:01:50]:

And so it's a little different than what people might be thinking of. Of a portable charger that you plug into a wall outlet you charge and reuse over and over again. How is this different?

Mark Lieblein [00:02:01]:

Power banks are awesome. They have power banks that will boost your car today. They're fantastic. Trying to convince a twelve year old boy to walk around with the brick and the cable, it's never going to happen. I tried. Didn't work. So having something that's pre charged and ready to go. That's lightweight and inexpensive.

Mark Lieblein [00:02:19]:

Again, is all those key attributes that set us apart from a traditional power bank. Not having to remember to bring it with you or have it charged and thrown in your bag, but just having the little, I say, condom type product with you at all times, lightweight and ready to go whenever you need it.

Jon LaClare [00:02:40]:

And I love it. I'm a little bit older than twelve, but I like the idea of keeping one in your backpack when I travel. For example, as you said, if I remember to have a power bank charge, plug it in before I go, great. Although it's really big and heavy and bulky, etcetera. So I love that you can just keep this in a side pocket, you can keep one in your glove compartment, in your car, always have one around you. When you don't have that power bank, you have nothing to plug into or charge or plug the charge into. So it's always available to get that emergency charge. So your phone's never completely dead on you.

Jon LaClare [00:03:11]:

You've always got that ability to use it. And as you talk about with twelve year olds, to check in with us as parents, but for us as well in the business world, man, we got to have our phones with us at all times. And when that goes dead, which can happen quickly, sometimes having a backup or a way to charge it almost instantaneously, or plug right in and get to use it, it makes a huge difference.

Mark Lieblein [00:03:31]:

Yeah, we like to say we're selling the cheapest life insurance policy on the market. That peace of mind to know that you're never going to be stuck in a situation, whether it's 02:00 in the morning and your car won't start, you got to call an Uber, get a cab, whether it's in your glove box because your battery is dead, you know, with a two year shelf life, it's really always there when you need it and ready to go when you need it. Anyone with a smartphone should have one with them at all times, whether in their purse, their briefcase, their bag, fishing boats, golf bag, whatever it is, you got to have one with you because you always got to stay connected.

Jon LaClare [00:04:09]:

Agreed. Yeah. It's more and more important every day. An interesting thing about the ChargeTab is you refer to it as a green product, which it may be the only lithium ion based battery in the world that can actually lay claim to being called green because there are some environmental issues with big batteries. We talk in the news about car batteries and things like that, but this truly is a green product. I had to get the explanation from you. First time to really understand that. So I'd love for you to share with our audience and explain what that means.

Jon LaClare [00:04:36]:

How is this a green battery?

Mark Lieblein [00:04:38]:

You know, we're extremely proud of the green aspect of the product. Having kids and wanting to leave them in a world that's better than the one I inherited. You know, dealing in batteries is something that I knew that there had to be a scenario where the green aspect was of super importance for us. We don't manufacture any new lithium. Every battery we use is sourced from landfills. We've upcycled every single battery. Anytime a ChargeTab is purchased, there is effectively one less battery destroying the planet. In the landfills, when you're done with it, you go on, fill out the return form, and we send you a shipping label free of charge.

Mark Lieblein [00:05:18]:

It's all prepaid and you can send it back to us and get 10% off your next purchase. So we're extremely proud of the fact that we have that lithium policy. And the shell is a paper shell, not plastic. It's proprietary paper that we developed almost like an egg carton. And we're very proud of the environmental aspect of our product, which is insane when you think about the fact that it is a lithium battery that is good for the environment.

Jon LaClare [00:05:46]:

I assume this is a correct way to state this, but the more that ChargeTabs are used, really, the less frequently non green traditional lithium ion batteries are used. Right. So every usage actually improves the environment. Right. Because you're, like you said, you're pulling them out of landfills that otherwise could sit there forever. Right? As far as I understand. And it's, it's not just not bad, it's actually helping in a very good way, which is fantastic.

Mark Lieblein [00:06:09]:

Yeah, we're very proud of that. And you know, when people see us to treat shows or they see our product around, they immediately think that, you know, this is, this is the, an amazing attribute for a product such as ours because you think of power banks, they're in those pvc plastic and the lithium battery. And while they'll last some time, I'm sure you've got a drawer full of dead power banks that you forget to charge that are just sitting there.

Jon LaClare [00:06:41]:

And you mentioned, or we talked about a couple of uses. It's the twelve year old son that's stuck at school and never has a power bank or a cord with them to charge. I mentioned the business trips. What are some of the other more common uses of the ChargeTab?

Mark Lieblein [00:06:54]:

Well, you know, we like to say giving a ChargeTab is giving the gift of power. Anyone and everyone could use our product, whether you're hiking, traveling, you know, on a golf course, at a stadium. We do a lot of business with the NFL, with the NHL, with the professional leagues that are looking for a solution, whether they're at festivals or casinos or sporting events. A safety product, a prepper product, just a gift that everyone would be happy to get, whether you're three or 90. Everyone's got a smartphone, everyone's got a device, whether they're Airpods, GPS, a phone. It works everywhere. It works in everything, in every scenario. You never want to be without one because you never want to be off the grid.

Jon LaClare [00:07:43]:

So we've established it's a great product. We both love it. I'm sure our audience does, too. But one of the difficulties with a product like the ChargeTab is it's so unique and different from other things out there. It looks like a power bank in some way in that it plugs into your phone. In that respect, it has some similar functionality to some other things, but it is completely different. And that presents a problem of getting the word out. People aren't necessarily looking for your product because those that haven't heard of it yet, they have no idea that it even exists as a category, let alone as a brand.

Jon LaClare [00:08:15]:

So how did you originally grow awareness and turn this into, in the early days, a successful launch, given these constraints, that it is unique and different, that people aren't searching for it actively in.

Mark Lieblein [00:08:25]:

2024, to say that you have really no competition, it's unheard of. It doesn't really exist. And a lot of people think, well, that's fantastic. You're alone in the market. It's doing a lot of heavy lifting. Competition is good. Competition helps carry that load and get the word out for your category. We don't really fit into any category.

Mark Lieblein [00:08:46]:

We're not really a power bank. We are an emergency product that provides power when you need it. And it took us a long time to find the right category, to find the right niche. Whether it's doing our advertising or marketing, it's finding the right placement for ChargeTab as an impulse item. I think we found our niche and we found our wheelhouse of where people love to see us, where most of our success is, you know, right, right by the energy drinks that you know will fuel your body, this will fuel your phone. But, you know, being alone in the market, as mentioned, has its dual problem of nobody knows what a ChargeTab is and nobody even knows the product exists, which gives a huge opportunity, but at the same time got to do a lot of the lifting yourself. It costs a lot of money for sure.

Jon LaClare [00:09:42]:

One of the things I learned, or certainly started a belief early on in my career is the benefit of a descriptive trademark, right? And I know any lawyers that are listening are going to completely disagree with this statement. Where you think of ChargeTab, you get what it is, you get what it does basically, at least by the name, as opposed to some fanciful terms where they often use for trademarkability, etcetera. It's a little less strong when you don't have a fanciful word, but it helps to overcome when you've got a brand new product, especially in a new category. If you can be some descriptive and still get a trademark on it. Right. Get protection behind it, but have some description within your name that makes sense. It's more memorable. Right.

Jon LaClare [00:10:22]:

So this is a product that people are not searching for. They may come across it in a video ad or see it on a retail store shelf or at the checkout aisle and then forget about it, right? So it's like, what was that? Then they go back and Google. The more descriptive is. That's one way that I found to really help, I think. So. I love the name. Right. But first of all is a ChargeTab kind of.

Jon LaClare [00:10:40]:

You get it to some extent. You start the story, at least you remember it once you've seen it the first time and start to love the product and really see what it does. Now, I mentioned that checkout out. You did too. So part of your success currently is selling in Home Depot stores and Walmart and other brick and mortar as well. But these are two big brand names that really, everybody, all of our listeners know. How did they originally hear about your product? That's a big, can be a game changing experience, getting onto store shelves and especially in those, those particular stores. How did that originally happen?

Mark Lieblein [00:11:11]:

Yeah, so not having a sales team, not having huge bandwidth as a startup, as a bootstrapper, having a unique product like this, they found me in both cases, both category buyers found the product online doing the limited ads that we were doing and the socials that we were doing. They absolutely loved it. They got it right away. They loved the product right away. And not having competitors set us apart for their categories. They're presented with chocolate bars and gum and all the other confectionery products that are in their category. This is a new sales channel for them or a new product that is not cannibalizing existing business. This is creating a new channel almost for their division, which again, in 2024 is unheard of.

Mark Lieblein [00:12:07]:

So it's not like they're replacing one candy bar for another. Introducing ChargeTab to the planogram is something that increase their revenue and foot traffic. And it's just been a win win scenario. It's been fantastic. They both, retailers have been wonderful to work with. Being a bootstrap small guy is, you know, has its challenges, but at the same time, they've been wonderful to work with and great partners thus far.

Jon LaClare [00:12:37]:

And you kind of alluded to the power of uniqueness from a retail level as well. And I'd like to drill down a little bit further on that with at least my comments. So one thing, if this were a traditional power bank that was maybe charged twice as fast or whatever, had some unique benefit, to sell that into Walmart or Home Depot or any other major retailer, you or your salesperson sits down with them, explains how this is different. Better margins are better, it's going to grow so much, et cetera. But at the end of the day, most of those purchases and most things that they buy at retail stores, buyers that they bring into their stores, they are replacing something else. They've got limited shelf space, etcetera. So they put your device in, they take a sister device out. But this is what I love about having truly unique products like the ChargeTab is.

Jon LaClare [00:13:22]:

It's not really replacing a power bank. They're completely different. You still may buy both of those for different reasons, but at the checkout stand, that impulse buy, it grows the cart value at Walmart or at Home Depot or others, and they love that. So you're growing revenue for every customer that goes in the store. With truly unique products, there's challenges along the way, but it's the benefit of having something really unique like that, which is obviously something you've done incredibly well.

Mark Lieblein [00:13:47]:

Yeah, no, absolutely. As mentioned, it's not cannibalizing existing sales, it's adding to sales and adding to it. And just getting back to your point about the branding and the name of the product, my thought originally was, considering there was nothing really like this on the market, I wanted to be synonymous as a Kleenex or as a Xerox. The product is the category. And COVID slowed us down a bit. It certainly presented us challenges. The only thing that would really stop growth is if no one left their homes. And of course, that'll never happen.

Mark Lieblein [00:14:22]:

Except it did happen. Since then, it's been exponential growth and things have really taken off.

Jon LaClare [00:14:30]:

That's fantastic. It's been a Cinderella story. Nothing ever went wrong. Easy got integrated. So I'm sure you've had some hardships along the way. Anything you'd want to share that might be helpful for our listeners?

Mark Lieblein [00:14:42]:

You have to celebrate the wins. Doing something like this, bootstrapping and bringing something to market that either exists in a different class or doesn't exist at all has a lot of headwinds and you got to keep pushing forward. If you truly believe in the product and believe in what you're doing, you got to keep pushing forward and celebrate those wins when they come. And don't get too down on those lows when they happen, and they're going to happen. You're going to get setbacks on a daily basis and you just have to manage the lows and manage the highs and just, you know, keep pushing forward. If you believe in the product, if it's a product that you would buy yourself or you would be happy, if your loved ones would buy, then you got a winner. And believe in yourself because you're going to get a lot of no's, a lot of no's, and you just got to keep pushing forward.

Jon LaClare [00:15:45]:

Agreed. And I think that's such an important, really a reason that I like to do this podcast is for our listeners and viewers to be able to meet founders, inventors and product marketers to hear. The story is that you only often look at the end of the story, right. You see the success, you see you on Home Depot shelves, Walmart shelves, and it all feels easy, right? But there's a journey along the way. And even when you're there, right there, there's challenges at all times in really every business. Part of the fun of it, I guess, is one way to say it is overcoming challenges in creative ways. You become a problem solver at the end of the day, but finding ways to get through it and keeping your head up and realizing that there is an end. And we just want to make sure that is a positive end and that it grows.

Jon LaClare [00:16:26]:

I do want to. Before I ask you my last question, I want to jump back to how you mentioned how Home Depot, was it Home Depot or Walmart that originally found you. What was the Walmart buyer?

Mark Lieblein [00:16:34]:

Yeah, no, Walmart. Walmart.

Jon LaClare [00:16:36]:

So it's a great story, I think how you shared how they saw you on social media and it's such an important thing for people to realize a lot will try to go directly into retail because retail still works as you see, it's still a very powerful way to sell a product combined with direct to consumer marketing both are great in their own right, but that direct to consumer, whether it's digital, back in the day, it was always tv, right? Still includes that sometimes. But driving awareness of a brand new product like this drives excitement, drives results, drives interest from buyers. But I think maybe most importantly drives proof, right? So the buyer, if they happen to come across it and like, oh, this is really cool product, and they find out they're the first one that saw it or reached out to you and it's like, oh, no one's buying this. That's a different story than when they reached out. And you've got some proof as well, showing results. They come in from a campaign that retailers love to see that. And then it catapults, right? So you start with that, you get on the Walmart store shelves and now you have got brick and mortar sales. Now you can take that into other retailers as well.

Jon LaClare [00:17:34]:

And they start to see it on. They're doing competitive store checks all the time, looking for items to bring onto their, their own shelves and it really catapults from there. But one of the great points to start with is that direct to consumer marketing, because your buyers at the end of the day are consumers. The wider you can cast that net, you're going to capture some of them eventually, but also having that proof, true proof of concept. Well, is there, Mark, anything I didn't ask you that you think would be helpful for our audience?

Mark Lieblein [00:17:57]:

Well, just getting on, you know, touching on your point of the direct to consumer marketing, you know, being a bootstrap startup and not having unlimited funds, building a brand awareness campaign where you can't necessarily measure the metrics and measure conversions, but then you get an opportunity like my Walmart opportunity or others, you never know where that's going to lead. I guess my biggest piece of advice is the longer you stay in the game, the greater your chances of success. The goal is to keep your chips at the table and try and stay. And longevity is the most important thing. If you could stay in the game as long as you can, success will come. As long as you're smart about it, it'll certainly come.

Jon LaClare [00:18:49]:

Great point. And just to cement that home, I just listened to a podcast a couple days ago. It was from a couple weeks ago, that post. I just got around to it from Joe Rogan. So the number one, I think, still podcast in the world. And somebody asked him the question I've never heard asked before. I don't listen to his show very often, but so maybe he says it all the time, but they asked him, how long did it take for you to be revenue positive or at least profitability, or have profitability with your podcast? He said five years. So he started in the early days of podcasting, and now it's this crazy success.

Jon LaClare [00:19:17]:

My understanding is when he was just on Spotify, they paid him like $100 million to transfer over there. All this great success, whether you're a podcaster, a product marketer, whatever it is, it's just important to understand. As Mark, you just said, sticking with when you've got something good, it can take time to turn a corner, and then you'll have that end result, that home run story to be able to share with others. But it does take some grit to stay with it and some positivity and an important team and supporters around you as well. Is there anything else you'd like to add, Mark?

Mark Lieblein [00:19:46]:

Yeah, no, I like to say I'm an overnight success that took six years.

Jon LaClare [00:19:50]:

Well done. Yeah, true. Very true. Well, this has been a lot of fun. I know our audience. I'm sure they will enjoy this as well. Please go to T a b as in boy at the end.

Jon LaClare [00:20:02]:

We'll put it in the show notes as well. Check out this great product. It's available in retailers as well, so you can look for it there, but check out the website and learn more about it. Mark, thanks again for taking the time today.

Mark Lieblein [00:20:11]:

Thanks, John. Good to see you.

Jon LaClare [00:20:13]:

Did you know you can meet with a member of my team absolutely free for a 30 minutes strategy consultation? We've launched and grown hundreds of products since 2007 and learned some of our strategies while growing Oxiclean back in the Billy Mays days. We're here to help, so please go to and set up a call if you'd like to discuss further.


bottom of page