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How Mastering The Right Messaging Can Propel Your Business - Go Be Sleeves


Ever wondered how a successful entrepreneur turns a creative idea into a booming business? Meet Barbara Booth, the co-founder and CEO of Go Be Sleeves, who cracked the code to success with her innovative product line. Barbara shares the inspiration behind her innovative product, which is an airplane tray cover made from eco-friendly, antimicrobial materials. She discusses how her background as a former CNBC reporter and her personal experience with successful entrepreneurs has influenced her entrepreneurial journey and the lessons she has learned along the way. Barbara also details the evolution of her marketing strategy and the rapid growth of her business, offering valuable insights for entrepreneurs and business owners looking to scale their products. Tune in to hear how Barbara's determination, wise marketing decisions, and collaboration with platforms like Grommet have propelled her business to success.




 

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


  • Initial growth through word of mouth and digital campaigns

  • Challenges faced with scaling too quickly and learning to be scrappy

  • Evolution of the marketing story from focused on fear factor to a lifestyle enhancement aspect

  • Involvement in a mentorship program to learn key business skills

  • The impact of being featured on Grommet and leveraging a community-driven platform to boost sales

  • And much more!

 

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



Or, click to watch the full video interview here!


 

To learn more about Barbara's innovative product line of airplane tray covers that are antimicrobial and eco-friendly lifestyle accessories that transform travel into a blissful and uplifting experience, visit GoBeSleeves.com.


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 I speak with a former CNBC reporter that has interviewed some of the top entrepreneurs in the world with brands that you all recognize. She shares some advice that she heard from them, but since she is now a very successful entrepreneur in her own right, she also shares her journey and what she's learned along the way that you'll be able to apply to your own business as well.



Announcer [00:00:20]:


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 [00:00:40]:


Welcome back to the show. Today I'm really excited to be speaking with Barbara Booth. She is the co founder and CEO of Go Be Sleeves. We're going to talk about exactly what that product line is, what it does, how she came up with it. It's a really cool product, super unique and can help a lot of us if you're a traveler ever, if you fly on airplanes or could be trains and buses, that kind of thing as well. It's a great product that you'll want to consider, but also a great story, business story behind it as well. But first of all, I want to welcome to the show, Barbara.



Barbara Booth [00:01:11]:


Thank you so much. It's great to be here.



Jon LaClare [00:01:14]:


So tell us about the Go Be sleeves. These airplane tray covers, what are they? How do they work?



Barbara Booth [00:01:19]:


Oh, sure. So they are airplane tray covers that fit on universally coach seats in the airplane. And they are antimicrobial. They're eco friendly because they're made out of post consumer BPA free plastic from the oceans and from landfills. And they contain this antimicrobial technology that's nontoxic and non irritating and hypoallergenic. So it's safe for you and the planet, too. And the way we came up with these is because initially it was all about the germs on the airplane. You hear so much about that.



Barbara Booth [00:01:56]:


And it sort of sparked back in 2018 when my very good friend, who's now the co founder, Cornelia Quinn, came to me over dinner one day and she was talking about how she was so worried about the germs on the airplane trade tables because her son, who was battling leukemia at the time and also has autism, always came down with a bacterial infection two days after he got off the plane. And she came to me because I was a CNBC reporter at the time and know, I know you're always investigating different things. And could you look into it? I really think it's the germs on the trade table. So I said, sure, I'll look into it and see what I can find out. And I interviewed airline personnel, flight attendants, I talked to researchers, and what I found was pretty shocking. I came to find out that the dirtiest part of the airplane, the germiest part, is the tray table. It's actually eight times germier than the lavatory flush button. So that was huge.



Barbara Booth [00:02:56]:


Really huge to hear that. And that flight attendants would tell me that they would rarely, if ever, sanitize these tray tables. And that's because the luster of the airline industry has really changed since way back in the 60s when people started flying. Right. When people started flying, the legroom in the planes basically were 34 inches apart. Right? So you had lots of legroom time to clean the planes in between meal service on the plane. So it was really a luxurious, fashionable time to be flying, and it was kind of a fashionable thing to do. And since then, right, today we have about 28 inches between the seats.



Barbara Booth [00:03:46]:


And because of deregulation, airlines are offering lower fares, more people are flying. And just in the US alone, there's 2.65 million people that fly every day, so they don't have time to clean the planes in between. So in my investigation, finding this out was pretty shocking. And on top of it, because of the germs on the tray tables, people are using so many single use disinfectant wipes, and they're going into our landfills, and most of them are made of synthetic fibers that never decompose, and they have harmful toxins. So we came up with this product that's not just an airplane tray cover, but something that's a lifestyle accessory that will brighten up your space and make the experience so much better. And something taking it from a sterile environment to something that's blissful with all of the designs. And we're doing it by leveraging our creativity and our designs and making them beautiful.



Jon LaClare [00:04:49]:


I love that concept. And you and I were talking before the interview how your marketing story has evolved a bit over time, where it was originally focused on the fear factor, which is real. Right. You did not mention that. The stat, I think you said eight times more germs or more bacteria on the tray table than there is on the laboratory flush. That's crazy and kind of scary, right? But I can certainly see that people are eating, they're touching their mouth, and mouths are bacteria focused, and then you've moved to this sort of lifestyle. Right. So, of course, it's protecting you still from germs, bacteria, et cetera.



Jon LaClare [00:05:23]:


But I love how you worded it. You make your space. I can't remember how you said exactly, but it's like making it homey. Right. It makes it comfortable, which flying on a plane can be kind of dreadful. Right. It's this tiny little area you're, like, pulling your elbows in so you're not touching the person next to you.



Barbara Booth [00:05:38]:


Right.



Jon LaClare [00:05:39]:


I love that aspect of making it just feel like a piece of home. So how has that changed? Yeah, a good way to put it. So how has your messaging changed over time, I guess. And how has that helped you as you've grown your business?



Barbara Booth [00:05:54]:


So it has changed greatly. We started 2021, and it was really based on, oh, there's so many germs on the plane. You have to clean the space. You could get ill. There's a lot of infectious diseases that can be transferred, and all of that is true. But we are a brand that has an uplifting voice, and that's how we want to be. So we want to be a brand that makes you feel good. And there's a cultural shift toward wellness.



Barbara Booth [00:06:27]:


Wellness and health and just feeling good. Right. People love to have candles and their hand soaps and just feeling warm and fuzzy. And that's the messaging that we are using now. We're saying, upgrade your space to the best space that it can be. Even if you're in coach, feel like you're in first class. So that's where our messaging is going.



Jon LaClare [00:06:50]:


I love that. It's funny, I worked with a client many years ago that had a similar pitch, turning coach into first class. It was very different with the trade table. It was more about, like, a comfort, like getting a seat cushion or whatever. But at the end of the day, as we tried to test it and work it out, it's like it's kind of more comfortable. It used to shoved into this ugly little space, whatever. So I think the way you've done this, the visual aspect of it is a lot better. Right.



Jon LaClare [00:07:15]:


It just makes it feel bigger. It makes it feel like you're in a better place as you're flying, which none of us typically anymore love to.



Barbara Booth [00:07:23]:


Be on a plane.



Jon LaClare [00:07:23]:


Traveling is great. Right. It's the journey that isn't always that.



Barbara Booth [00:07:27]:


Great in coach, especially. Exactly. And we have the classic collection. And the classic collection started off with a lot of our iconic symbol, which is the hexagon. And we have that symbol because in nature, in an end, in architecture. When you put the cells of a beehive, which are the hexagons, right together, and it makes the honeycomb shape, or in a building, when you put the cells that are shaped like a hexagon together, those 120 degree angles that support each other are the strongest. They create unimaginable strength. And so we feel that if people are mindful of each other and come together and try to be good to the planet as well and just really have the same mission, we'll be a stronger world.



Barbara Booth [00:08:21]:


We believe in unity, and so that's the reason behind our hexagon. And you'll see that in a lot of our classic covers. So we then decided, why not establish different lines? So we went into a kids collection, which is really fun, has jungle patterns and alphabets. So it's kind of a way for kids to be able to come onto the plane and be distracted by these beautiful covers. And the mom feels great because she's putting them on and obviously taking care of her child. So we came out with the kids collection, and that's amazing. It's doing amazingly well, and now we're doing something that's really different but so exciting. We are collaborating with galleries all over the globe to reach out to local artists to design what they believe is an interpretation of some of the most popular destination hotspots in the world.



Barbara Booth [00:09:18]:


And so they'll submit these in sort of a competition, and we will pick which ones, and these will become our my happy place collection. So it's become quite a giftable.



Jon LaClare [00:09:31]:


I love that. And thinking about the Hexagon design, too. I know with your two pack, you give an included case that's Hexagon shaped as well, a hard case you can attach to your luggage. And if people in our audience are thinking about, what do you do with this when you're done with it? Right. It goes right back. In that case, you attach it to your bag or put it inside your bag, and it's a great design as well. So we'll talk more about this at the end, but encourage your audience to go to check out your website, which is Gobgo B e sleeves.com. You can check out this full line, see the cool artwork that's done on these, these designs, as well as the case that you can get with the two pack.



Jon LaClare [00:10:05]:


Let's talk about the business side of it now. So you've got this great product, and it's launched really in 2021, right? Or 2021. What's really helped your business to grow so quickly? What's worked well for you?



Barbara Booth [00:10:18]:


Well, I guess at the beginning it was a little bit of word of mouth that started the first day we launched. We sold 150 in the first day. And the first person that bought our product was actually the UPS person or the USPS person that I had called to find out about shipping. And she said, what is your product? And I told her that, when are you launching? I need to get that. And she was. She was the very first person that bought our product. And so in the beginning, it was just a little bit of word of mouth. And then we started doing some digital campaigns.



Barbara Booth [00:10:59]:


Our mistake was that we tried to scale so fast right out of the gate, and we hired a consultant who was recommended to us by a friend. And she was a major executive for an ad agency, a huge ad agency in New York City. And she basically tried to build a tank. And we really needed to be scrappy in the beginning, and we had a good amount of funds between myself and my co founder. We were pretty flush in the beginning and it was great. We were excited. She hooked us up with a website designer. Very expensive, it turned out to be.



Barbara Booth [00:11:39]:


Now you have to go to this very big, expensive agency in New York and we did this big photo shoot and then you have to do a sizzle video. And by the time we had done all of that and we were ready to launch, we were almost broke at that point. And so we thought, oh, my goodness. So in the beginning, it just started to roll from the digital media campaigns and some word of mouth and some Facebook boosting on our own. And then we sort of had to put the brakes on, but not before shark tank reached out to us, which we were only three months old. And we thought, this is amazing, we're only three months old. How could they be reaching out to us already? But they found out. So some of our digital campaigns helped us to grow awareness.



Barbara Booth [00:12:28]:


So it was really quickly at first, until we started to get short on cash and we had to sort of put on the brakes and we decided to go and hire this mentorship company. It's a mentorship program, and I think it's a great thing for people to do when they're first starting out and they're in the early stages. And it's because we decided we don't want to be paying everyone else for website design every time we needed to get our website tweaked, or we needed to become empowered and to control our own company. So we decided that we needed to get the best offer out there. We had to learn how to do the right messaging. And when that started, that's when things started to grow. And then Gromit found us. So once we were on Gromit, that really catapulted us into sales.



Barbara Booth [00:13:30]:


We just started growing exponentially.



Jon LaClare [00:13:33]:


That's great. Let's talk about Grommet a little bit. We've had a couple of guests on the show that have had success on the Grommet. It can be a great platform. And I remember years ago, it used to be very different, the Grommet from three, four, five years ago for any of our listeners. And Barbie, you're probably aware as well, it was a very different company back then. They would shoot the videos for you. It was almost like an online catalog.



Jon LaClare [00:13:54]:


And they had a ton of funding behind it. And they went away. It shut down for a few months and came back. And the program's a little bit different now, but it's different. But it can be very successful at helping to drive growth for a brand new or newish product like yours. How does it work with Grommet? If you just kind of help our audience understand how it works and how it's been helpful for you, sure.



Barbara Booth [00:14:16]:


So you apply to gromit, and once they accept you, then they ask you to send in lots of images and video. And they have such a great team. They put it all together for you, but they are using all of your assets and they're just right on point when it comes to your messaging. You write all of the copy, but they help you with it a little bit. Somehow. They really catch on quickly. Their team is really great. So they have a launch day every Thursday, and they have over 2 million subscribers on Grommet.



Barbara Booth [00:14:53]:


So the night before, they say the launch is coming. And on launch day, everybody that's a subscriber pretty much knows that launch day is Thursday. And the 20 new products that are new, innovative products that they've picked out are launched. And they have great Instagram. Let's see, they're on Instagram and email blasts and they really reach their customer base. And then their customers vote because a community driven platform, their customers vote. And so you want to be the product of the week. So you kind of drive that.



Barbara Booth [00:15:27]:


You yourself drive the traffic. You tell everyone you know on your social media platforms, I'm on Grommet. I want to be product of the week. Because once you're product of the week, they have a menu bar that says product of the week. And people seem to go to that menu bar, right? They click on that. So we also put on our own website, we're on Grommet. If you want 20% off, go to Grommet. So we're helping each other because Grommet is trying to increase their customer base at the same time that we're trying to get sales.



Barbara Booth [00:16:02]:


Right. So we're kind of helping each other. So the more people we drive to Grommet from our own website, they're being helped and we're being helped by sales. So you offer discounts? We offer 20% off for grom if you upvote us on Grommet. And that's what we did. And we did win product of the week. So that was just amazing because then after that, they showcased us again and then they did a maker video on us, and that will be coming out soon. So it's been fabulous marketing and it hasn't cost us a penny.



Jon LaClare [00:16:36]:


Yeah. For our listeners, it's kind of like the old school printed catalogs in some ways, right? Like they've got this audience of followers, 2 million. As you mentioned, that people that are interested in new products, you get access to their audience by adding yours as well and by adding a great product when they accept you. So it can be a good tool as part of your marketing arsenal, part of your overall marketing program as well. Well, I'll post a link to the, you mentioned your mentorship program you've been a part of. That's been helpful, too. And I think it's a good thing. We've talked about similar things on our show in the past for especially early stage businesses, when you may not have the funds to do everything and really shouldn't with the most expensive resource of every piece of it.



Jon LaClare [00:17:21]:


Right. Getting off the ground and launched and learning should be done fairly efficiently. Right. It's all about the goal of learning and getting to profits. Right. So the faster you can do that and then you can afford to go to the next level, the next stage, et cetera. You've got to bring in sometimes experts to help with different aspects where you may not be the best at, but find out what you can do. And these mentorship programs can be good.



Jon LaClare [00:17:44]:


The one you mentioned is you told me about, it's called for good profits. We can put a link to that in the show notes as well. People want to check that out. Early stage, great thing that I've mentioned on our show in the past are part of a mastermind where I work with other marketing agency owners that are not direct competitors to us, but you learn from them. Right. We go through similar trials, struggles, et cetera and we can really help each other out with resources, et cetera. So a good thing to think about for anything.



Barbara Booth [00:18:12]:


We also go through score. Score. I'm out of Massachusetts, so we go through score of Boston. And they've been wonderful because those are all free resources of people that are retired that have great expertise. And so they've been amazing as well.



Jon LaClare [00:18:29]:


Yeah. And I can't what the SC stands for, but for our audience, we haven't heard of it. Of retired executives. Right. Do you know what the SC stands for in something? Something, we'll say something something of retired executives. So it is this resource of people that really just want to give back. And it can be very helpful really at any stage for startups as well as even ongoing or growing businesses. Well, Barbara, this has been a fun interview.



Jon LaClare [00:18:52]:


Is there anything I didn't ask you that you think would be helpful for our.



Barbara Booth [00:18:57]:


As when I was a CNBC reporter, one of my tasks was to interview some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs of our. That's, I always had the entrepreneurial bug, but that even fostered it even more. And hearing their know people like Sarah Kaus of the swell bottle and Sarah Blakely of Spanx and Eric Ryan who discovered know they gave such great wisdom. So I thought I would just jump in feet first and this is all going to be great and it would all work out fantastically. And I learned quickly that there is so much more that goes into know. You have to start out slow. You can't start out fast at the gate. And the one thing that Eric Ryan had said to me was that you need to focus on the second swing of the bat, not the first, because the first swing is all about learning how to, you have to spend the time, you have to come up with the concept, come up with the messaging and just pilot, pilot, pilot and launch and learn.



Barbara Booth [00:20:03]:


And that's so true. But I didn't get it until I was totally involved in it first and there wasn't going back at that point. So it's all a great learning experience and we're learning every day, but we've come so far from two years ago and we're just super happy.



Jon LaClare [00:20:26]:


Well, thank you. I'm so glad you shared that. That's great advice for sure. I do want to encourage our audience. Please go to gobesleeves.com to learn more. Barbara's great product. It'll be in the show notes as well. So if you're driving, don't worry about writing it down.



Jon LaClare [00:20:40]:


Go back to the show and check it out later, see the great product and coming soon product as well as you mentioned. Well, thanks again, Barbara.



Barbara Booth [00:20:48]:


Thank you.



Jon LaClare [00:20:49]:


Also, I want to mention to our audience, did you know you can meet with a member of my team absolutely free for a 30 Minutes 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 harvestgrowth.com to set up a call if you'd like to discuss further.

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