June 7, 2022

4. Matt Mullenax, Huron - Brand Building

Matt Mullenax


Co-Founder & CEO



Today's guest is Matt Mullenax, Co-Founder and CEO at Huron, a direct to consumer men's care startup. In a category that can be unfamiliar and uncomfortable to talk about, Matt's built a remarkable brand. By marrying award-winning products with a deeply personal brand that both invites in customers as a creative partners and wears some of the awkwardness for them, Matt's scaled Huron to over 5000 five-star reviews and many thousands more repeat customers. We cover a lot ground, from doing things that don't scale like sending bagels to customers to keeping the brand fresh despite 18 month product cycles. Matt shares a lot of knowledge on what it means to build a brand and to deeply know your customers.

Jared Klee: So Matt, I wanted to start the conversation. You have this customer obsession with Huron. I know it as a customer, a longtime customer from the early days. I've heard you use this expression "pack the customer's bags for them." What does that mean for Huron? What does that mean for you? Where does that even come from?

Matt Mullenax: That phrase actually comes from this customer service wizard, who I worked with at Bonobos. His name is John wrote, so he was in charge of building out the entirety of the Bonobo CX department, which was coined the ninjas. So he led the ninjas from 2008 to like 2013 or 2014, like hired hundreds of people. And Bonobos is probably best known outside of like super bright and colorful pants for having like insane customer service.

So that notion of kind of packing a customer's bags for them is just anticipating questions, anticipating pain points. If you field an inbound, like understanding what the points of friction might be, and actually addressing those, not only the initial question or the response, but thinking about what's that extra layer deeper.

I think a more literal interpretation of packing their bags for them is we used to hand deliver herself all the time, whether that be for influencers or customers in the New York city area.

It was just something that was fun. It was a way to kind of meet and greet folks IRL, especially during the pandemic, when that wasn't a really a thing. Obviously there's a literal interpretation, but the figurative sense is kind of a trace back to early Bonobos days.

Jared Klee: I love that. Everyone goes out and buys clothes. It's kind of a normal understood experience. Let's be honest, men's care is not a well-developed category. It's a bit of an awkward conversation. It's certainly not a conversation most men are having with themselves, nevermind with someone else. That's a very different interaction. What does it mean to be customer obsessed, to interact with customers? What's the work you have to do to have that conversation and actually engage them on a deeper level?

Matt Mullenax: One, I think it starts really with product. At the end of the day, we have to be a true kind of like zero to one experience in terms of what you're currently using today for you to kind of realize like, oh, wow, like this is actually fundamentally better than what my current options are or what's currently stocked in my Secondly, I think there's this element of education we've always kind of prided ourselves on. Our co-founder, Matt Terry, has spent almost 30 years in the category developing for some of the biggest brands in the world. And I think where we have an upper hand as a brand almost three years old, is to have someone on our team with that level of experience.

So we'll oftentimes tap into like, what is an exfoliate? Or like, why should I be using facewash? Or what's the difference between face lotion and face moisturizer? Why is SPF important? There's always an element of intrigue in this category for a lot of folks, for a lot of guys in particular, but there's not really a sense of confidence of like, where do I even start to go seek out these answers.

So the thought is can we create this safe space of sorts to not only educate this guy, but also for us as a brand to kind of wear some of the awkwardness of the category, right? Like, you're not going to go sit down with a buddy and watch a game and talk about which conditioner you're using.

But if you were to have questions, if you maybe you saw something and your buddy shower, and you're like, oh, what's that product? We want to be a centralized hub where we can kind of help educate you along the process and what it means to take slightly better care of yourself, but then arm with the products to then go do that.

So I think it's a vertically integrated approach of not only selling fundamentally better products, but also kind of help educating you along the way around what can I do each morning, maybe each night before bed, just to make myself look, feel, smell just like a tad bit better.

And that's quite honestly the fun part.

Jared Klee: It's an interesting challenge because for the brand, that means you've got to strike a very specific type of tone with the consumer. Yes, there's a friendliness to it. There's a familiarity to it, but at the same time, you're kind of handholding them into something they maybe haven't thought about before. Talk to me a little bit about that brand development.

Like how do you strike that tone for a new customer who hasn't engaged with Huron before? What is the Huron brand, that first impression you're trying to make?

Matt Mullenax: One of our core architectural pillars in terms of brand and or tone is this notion of relatability. Oftentimes people say authenticity, which I just, I can't stand that word anymore. So we like to say relatable.

I was the kid who grew up with bad skin, right. So I had tried everything under the sun, nothing worked, tried Accutane, which is horrible for you. Did that twice. Actually, I was the lucky, like 5% of people for whom acne comes back later in life. And then just couldn't find anything from like a maintenance product side of things that would help control occasional breakouts or what have you.

Leaning in with that first person narrative helps paint a picture of, we're kind of like in this awkwardness together. If you're a newer customer, it gives us a little bit more social clout, if you will, around how to talk about these products, how to talk about these problems, quite frankly, again, in a way where we can kind of wear the awkwardness. We can kind of wear the unease of the category a bit, lower that barrier of entry. And just create like a much more fun, but not funny, relatable brand.

We're not here posting memes all the time and that's totally an angle and that's totally fine. But that's just not really us. Can we be a little bit self-deprecating in humor, but again, just kind of like own that awkwardness a little bit to help ease the transition for someone who might not have that much experience in this category. Because the end of the day, we feel that these products can be used by anyone at any time. And for us, it's just purely a top of the funnel awareness piece.

So again, by kind of crafting that more down to earth, relatable, hopefully grounded approach, we feel like we can kind of lower that awkwardness to invite more people into the brand.

Jared Klee: Is that different for say a current customer, someone like me? You're launching new products, I'm getting excited about, say the bar soap that just came out versus someone who maybe is still, I've heard you express the neon blue CVS bottle, if that still their experience. Is Huron something different for each one of those consumers?

Matt Mullenax: Yes and no. There's a subset of folks who are current customers who probably transitioned from being the neon blue soap guy.

Jared Klee: In my defense, it was neon green. It was Irish spring, specifically.

Matt Mullenax: There you go. There you go. Guess your cap color.

I think there's still a lot of opportunity to kind of educate that consumer, wherever you sit on the spectrum. I mean, We are fortunate in the sense that we get folks who will trade down from super premium brands because they realize like, "wow, this actually has like a lot of this stuff that I'm looking for." And it's a vegan product and it's cruelty free. And it's all these things that I'm currently using my current product, but it's a quarter of the price.

But there's the lion's share of our customer base is trading up from that traditional drug mass grocery store type product that might require a little bit more education.

What we try to do pretty maniacally quite frankly, on the email side is understand if you're a new or recurring customer, understand your purchasing history, and then understand like how can we flex different areas within our voice or copy so that it is more tailored to you.

So if you're familiar with the products, we can talk about scent, or we can talk about how we're taking that scent profile and expanding it to new products. Or if you're a newer customer, we'll describe the scent, right. It's like modeled after X or focuses on Y. Different message tailoring opportunities depending on where you're at in your customer life cycle with Huron.

Jared Klee: I want to come back to that product development life cycle in a sec. How did you come about this brand? I imagine this wasn't just stroke of genius and everything just kind of fell out. What was the development? How has the Huron brand evolved, changed over time to mean more, especially as the product set, the number of SKUs has grown as well.

Matt Mullenax: We were fortunate enough to work with an agency here in New York to really kind of get us off the ground from naming of Huron to packaging design. You know, that was a really fun process.

We all went to CVS. We all went to Walgreens, Duane Reed, you name it, ordered stuff on the internet and just threw everything on a big conference table and just kind of like sorted everything. Like what does kind of the prevailing trends look like? Everything was tall, everything was dark, everything was slender, kind of like masculine leaning whatnot.

So we were like, all right, can we be white, red, fat, stout? Like everything that is the opposite, right. To kind of stand out a little bit.

I think one of the areas where we really gravitated towards was leading into red because red in this category can mean things that like, aren't great, right? It's a breakout, it's a blemish, it's a rash, it's irritation, it's something. And it's the old school incumbent in the category, which is Old Spice.

So can we strategically introduce red almost as like an accent color in a way to kind of further underscore that notion of relatability. As you look at our packaging, it's oftentimes blue logo, red dot, like a vintage, Americana feel that we were super pumped up about.

But kind of two-platooning that with literally flying in buddies from all over the country to sit in a WeWork on weekends and just brainstorm around how do we talk about facewash? How do we position bodywash? How do we think about shampoo? These were a lot of folks who are net new to the category. Like yes, they use soap. Yes, they wash their bodies and hair, but like never were they in a driver's seat per se to actually think about how would you articulate that type of product.

So you get a lot of, almost like this innocence in speak and tone of copy, but a lot of gold emerged from that. Kind of both ends of the spectrum from a very, very decorated creative agency which was quite expensive, but a great investment all the way to an investment in Domino's pizza and Miller High Life to get a sense for like what could the brand be as told by folks who are indeed our target market.

Jared Klee: It feels like you've kept up with that continual engagement. I know I'm on the receiving end of more than a handful of surveys. It's what should our new design mean? What should a new product be? That seems like part of that continual conversation with the customer.

Matt Mullenax: Yeah, that's exactly right. We have kind of this internal hypothesis that there are so many people out there that would love to be a founder or an entrepreneur at some point in their lives. But, maybe it's just not the right time. Just got married, just had a kid, just got promoted a new job. Maybe it's just too risk averse.

So what we try to do with that is like, Can we actually invite people inside the brand walls so that they feel one degree closer to a brand that they might otherwise feel associated with. And do you create this element of loyalty, that may be pretty special for the category.

There's a lot of people who don't really care about what soap they buy or what shampoo they use. But I think it's: you're not buying shampoo from us, you're buying Huron shampoo. And I think that's actually an important difference, differentiating factor. There is this brand affinity that we've created such that when we send out those surveys, trying to do them quarterly, I mean, our open rates and completion rates are through the roof. I mean, it's insane.

And I think that's attribute just because people want to contribute. People want to feel like they're helping guide and steer the future of the business. And we put a lot of weight on the results. It's not just like a check the box, like, oh, let's just loft this out in a survey and see what happens.

We're taking those learnings and actually building upon them. And I think that's again, what kind of creates this reinforcing factor around CX, around the customer really being the north star and really building products and a brand in lockstep with our customer base.

Jared Klee: I think you had a story about a gentleman down in Texas who had a little trouble filling out one of the surveys?.

Matt Mullenax: Yeah. Geez, I guess it was last February, maybe when Austin had that really bad ice storm and power got knocked out and whatnot. He was driving from Austin to Dallas, to his in-laws and, I think he texted our number, actually. He was like, "Hey," and reached out to John.

He's like, "Hey Johnny, I'm so sorry. I'm late in taking the survey. We've been out of power for three or four days, but like, I'll be at my in-laws and here's the address? So sorry for the delay."

And we're like, holy cow, this is crazy. We're like, don't worry about it. Like make sure you're safe and warm first. But then we ended up sending a bunch of bagels to the house as like a thank you for, for being a loyal customer and obviously prioritizing the survey. And he was like, "oh my God, this is amazing. We used to live in New York and my wife and I, that was like our favorite bagel spot."

There's just like little opportunities to lean in, I think when most brands would just kind of say like, "Hey, we've done our job." How can we continue to push the envelope just a little bit further to really create that level of customer intimacy that we're aiming for. And it kind of hearkens back to John's original notion packing their bags for them.

Jared Klee: I love that story because you get both the customer obsession with Huron on that side. I mean, the idea of emailing a brand because I don't have power and I can't do the survey. I mean, that is mind blowing. And then the flip side the intimacy. Huron's an awesome company, but it's a men's care company and you're receiving bagels in the mail from your favorite bagel spot. This is ridiculous.

Matt Mullenax: We've boughten things off of folks, wedding registries before and sent it to them as a surprise. We did that a few weeks ago and Johnny's really, really good at that. You know, he'll spot an order and say like, "Hey, we just got an order for 12 shower kits that came in, let me dig into this."

So he'll reach out and be like, "oh, it's for a wedding. I'm just going to grab something off the registry and send it to them." That's fantastic. We got a handwritten note back, like a few weeks later.

There's little things you can do that are time consuming, are not scalable. But I think do a lot to create that loyalist in the early days. And that's what we want. We want these folks to feel like they have found their brand in the category for life.

Jared Klee: How do you strike that balance? Cause you're saying not scalable, highly intimate. At the same time you're serving now thousands of customers with, let's be frank, a teeny team's still just five people. How do you strike that balance between managing to scale and still make it deeply personal?

Matt Mullenax: Yeah. It's definitely a balance. There's still a lot of things that we do today that are quite manual. We have a number of triggers within Shopify, for instance, where if this person spends over X on their first order, I immediately get an email and I'm in charge of like following up with a custom note. Or if someone orders in New York or Chicago or Ohio, where I'm from, those get distributed to members of the team for individual follow-up as well.

It's still really fun. We do it all the time and I think when we start to see diminishing returns in terms of spending too much time doing that, then I think we have to reevaluate a bit, but for the time being the feedback has been amazing. And I feel like the ROI, while difficult to measure, is definitely leaning in our favor.

Jared Klee: You're almost curating a customer base. The Huron customer, the person's coming back again and again and again, they are more than just a product push, we get revenue. You're getting the survey engagement from them. You're getting the brand development, the wedding one.

I mean, that's one person now effectively selling Huron to 12 buddies. This is pretty astonishing. I mean, it's not traditional channel development, but you've got a group of affiliates, of Huron, super fans that are now broadcasting to the world. That's extraordinary.

Matt Mullenax: It all kind of doubles back to product. At the end of the day, the e-commerce DDC landscape has certainly evolved in the past 10 plus years. I mean, when I first started in 2008, there was just a lot of novelty of buying things online. Like it was cool and it was different and you could brag about it to your friends, but it's how a lot of people shop nowadays, whether it be Amazon or company store, what have you.

There's just been a recalibration of focus a bit on product. And when your product does stand out from the masses, like people will recognize and I think it's building that product for this consumer. And then again, sound like a broken record, like packing bags for them. Any way, shape, or form, an opportunity that we can to kind of create that two-prong effect of not only product quality, but also brand quality.

Jared Klee: Let's double click on product there. Cause I come from the world of bits and bites of moving money. This stuff happens instantly. You can have distributed teams around the world. You write code, you can ship it. You're done.

You're dealing with something, let's be clear, highly physical. It's goes through, I think you've said a 12 to 18 month product development, then you've actually got to move it. You just launched deodorant just before that you launched the bar soap.

Just help me better understand, like what goes into that 12 to 18 month development cycle. What does it mean to go launch a new product for Huron?

Matt Mullenax: Well it starts first and foremost with my partner, Matt who's kind of like our internal mad scientist, if you will. In the sense that he has these visions around what the product can, could, and should be. And I think his high bar of expectation has given us the ability to tout our products in the market.

It typically starts out as like a term paper, for lack of a better analogy. It's a product brief and we'll share that with a few of our product development partners. I think one of the things that was really special for us early on is we were able to get access to some pretty great contract manufacturers that we probably wouldn't have otherwise had access to if it weren't for Matt.

So I think he gave us the clout and the credibility to walk in and say like, "Hey, we're prelaunch, but we're going to move things pretty quickly. So if you want to get on board, let's partner earlier, or if not, that's totally fine but we're going to go find the right partner to do so."

The way that I think about partnerships in general, we don't work with vendors nor are we a client. I don't want anything to do with that transactional level engagement. Like we are partners. We are going to share things with you that we will probably overshare because we need you to proactively think on our behalf because we're a team of five. We need you to be so in the weeds that you're keeping us informed on trend ingredients or what's happening in the market or new formulation capabilities. That allows us to continue to move the envelope.

We're kind of like introducing them to new product ideas via a product brief. That will kick off a sampling process. And a lot of times you might get three to five iterations or pass backs between brand and contract manufacturer where the cm might say like, okay, like pencils down. Like we've kind of given it our best go. I think our bodywash went through like 47 iterations.

That's Matt's ability to dissect product to get insanely granular in the weeds of the fragrance lasting levels, after use feel on skin. It's super impressive. That's the reason why we've been able to accumulate amazing product ratings on site and across Amazon is because we're dealing with a new product category and I think a new product level of performance.

All those iterations back and forth certainly take time, but we, we'll never put something in market that (A) we're not super proud of or that we are not users ourselves. So until those products kind of meet our internal standards, they'll remain kind of works in progress.

Jared Klee: If I go on a usehuron.com, I notice first thing that hits me is a hundred percent vegan, all these things we don't use, made in the USA. I mean, it really is front and center for your brand.

Matt Mullenax: Yup, a hundred percent. We don't want to use random fillers or random things to drive costs down. We're actually taking the opposite approach, which is how can we throw the kitchen sink at this product so that it can literally do everything. And that's why the development process does take some time is because we're constantly thinking about, could we add X to get Y benefit? Could we add A to get B benefit. And we're constantly having those conversations with our contract manufacturers.

And those conversations can, can get a little tenuous at times. But I think at the end of the day, when our partners see the products that we're putting into the market and the customer response, I think that's just something that we champion internally with our partners. And then obviously we've kicked off hopefully it will be a very extended partnership with them in terms of reorder rates, larger MOQs, larger purchase orders, etc.

Jared Klee: How do you keep the brand, the website, the customer engagement fresh? If it's taking you 12 months, 18 months to get the highest quality product out the door, there's a challenge in the interim of how do you make here on continue to be relevant to the consumer? How do you manage that, knowing that it's gonna take a year, year and a half to get the next product out the door?

Matt Mullenax: Newness is really important, right? Like people want to get excited about new products, new items, new things. So we have a goal internally of bringing newness to market once a quarter. So whether that be new website feature, new accessory, new product, we have a pretty robust pipeline and thinking about how can we continue to hit that milestone.

When it comes to the site, that is our primary storefront, right? So we're constantly tinkering around, running tests, like do we want to show messaging first then products, vice versa? Do we want to push featured products higher on the homepage? Do we not want to show them at all? Do we want to enable checkouts from the collections page?

We work with a conversion rate optimization group that's really, really good. And we were constantly running tests because that is our one storefront. And to just leave it idle to not sweep your physical store. So it just collects dust. So we don't want any dust on our storefront.

So we're constantly think about what's new, what's different, what can we do to supplement the current site so that there is elements of newness to our current customer base. But that also serves as an attraction for potentially prospective customers as well.

Jared Klee: In addition to Use Huron, you're now frankly, a fairly large presence in Amazon. A couple of thousand five star reviews later, it's clearly working. How do you balance that? Because you have such an intimate relationship with the customer, and yet you can get huge traffic through Amazon.

How do you balance the two and how do you continue to engage the customer, build that same type of deep relationship, knowing that in Amazon's case, they now effectively own the storefront for that relationship?

Matt Mullenax: I think there was a, a little bit of a passing of the Baton, or maybe a new era a few years back where there was this mentality of like, you had to own every single customer touchpoint, right? You had to own all the data. You had to know zip code and address and demographic data and whatnot.

The way that we approach this is like, we just want to own your bathroom. So if you choose to buy an Amazon, like go for it. If you choose to buy from our site, terrific. Hopefully in the not too distant future, we're on shelves in places. Like if that's your preferred mode of shopping more power to you.

Because our goal was just to get product in people's hands rather than create an invisible fence around like, no, you can only shop on our site because that just creates a very easy way for a competitor to step in and say like, "Hey, if they're not going to be on Amazon and people are searching for it, buy our brand instead."

So it's a little bit of brand defense for sure, but we want to make it as easy on the consumer as possible to get our goods. So we launched an Amazon actually in February of 2020, slightly different world back then. And despite all of our early efforts to do nothing with the platform, it kind of grew and scaled on its own pretty quickly.

I think for me, what's been really interesting is Amazon is a very cynical platform in the sense that you will get people who will come out of the woodwork to tell you how awful your product is. But what we've seen is actually quite the opposite.

There's a number of ways where you can try to like hack the algorithm to generate reviews and whatnot. We didn't do any of that. We still really don't do any of that, but we really did none of it for the first eight to 12 months. And our body wash got to a thousand reviews. So we were like, oh, wow, like now, now this thing starts to get moving and almost sell itself. So now it's been definitely an area of focus for us, just given not only unit economics, but ability to scale quickly.

Whether you're a guy in New York, who's an Amazon shopper because you need things just in time because you live in a 500 square foot studio, or you have a big house in Detroit because you're not in New York and you want to stock up on stuff and Amazon is just your go-to retailer, like we're for both of those guys. And for us to not be point of sale or POS at Amazon for us, I think is a miss. So we decided to lean in pretty early on.

Jared Klee: That focus on quality, the focus on product selling itself, the lack of focus on optimizing the algorithm. When we were talking about Huron launching a couple of years ago, I think about your voice, we're not gonna focus on Facebook ads. We're not gonna focus on Google ads.

I think. Yes, they exist now, but still compared to what I would think about traditionally for direct to consumer a remarkably small piece of the overall Huron equation. What were some of those early things you did to get the voice out? I'm thinking, I believe you did a billboard in Chicago at one point.

How did you get that early word out? Engage consumers, start building up the presence.

Matt Mullenax: You know, we definitely were playing in the Facebook and the Google ecosystems. But I think what was different is we weren't hanging our hats on those acquisition platforms, meaning that we weren't going to spend our way to greatness.

From a pretty early day, we decided that we wanted to cross the chasm from being a brand to being a business. Being able to stand on our own two feet, not just thinking about it's T minus 16 months till we need to raise the next round, but think about how quickly can we actually become a self-sustaining entity.

And I just have this firm belief that the most attractive acquisition candidate is the one that doesn't need to be acquired. So for us, it's constantly thinking about contribution margin and outbound shipping as a percent of sales and all these super granular metrics to understand where are we winning and what are opportunities for improvement.

There are certain acquisition channels where we're, we're okay at. We're not fantastic. So we choose not to deploy a lot of acquisition spend in that direction. We've certainly toyed with other opportunities that have been more advantageous to us.

For every brand there's a narrow list of cheat codes, which maybe you have access to or can scale that maybe others can't, whether it be relationships in the space whether it be you know, a supply chain leg up or a fulfillment leg up or something, and you really have to kind of reflect on those and figure out how to leverage them.

Otherwise, you're just kind of playing in the sea of sameness. And that's not the way to stand out. So for us, it's constantly thinking about getting bigger by actually thinking smaller, kind of refining the scope and saying like, this is where we can actually win. So let's double and triple down on these very narrow areas versus trying to like incrementally tackle everything because that's, that's becomes a pretty dangerous game.

But for us, we're constantly kind of re-evaluating where are we spending? Where are we seeing the biggest results, the most impressive results and most efficient results. And think about how to maximize, some of those metrics.

Jared Klee: What's the tool kit that you and the team are using to actually do that because you're taking in data from Instagram, from Amazon, from the core website. It's many, many channels. It's a five person team. How are you aggregating, understanding that?

And I have to imagine there's nuance. There might be lag in some of those data sources. You don't get the richness of the data from others. How do you manage, think through that? And then actually eventually deploy capital, deploy time?

Matt Mullenax: Obviously with iOS 14 to 14.5, there has been some attribution issues which have riddled a lot of the DTC community. It's tough. I mean, you turn off an ad that you'd think is underperforming and three days later it's wildly performing. They just missed 72 hours of efficient ad spend.

There's a few tools that are emerging. We started using Triple Whale, which is an attribution platform. We're pulling data from directly on platform. So directly from Facebook ads manager or directly from Google ads. We're looking at GA, we're looking at Triple Whale. We're looking at the back end of Amazon.

But by and large, how we think about this as like, it's kind of a rising tide argument, which is no two customer journeys are really the same. You might get served a Facebook ad, then Google the brand, then visit the website, then do nothing for three days. Then get served a retargeting ad, then Google the brand and then see we're on Amazon and buy. Some people require somewhere between four and 11 touchpoints before you even make a purchase.

So we're kind of looking at marketing expense on the holistic level kind of marketing efficiency ratios, to figure out where we need to be, where we want to be, what seems to be an efficient acquisition channel for us and starting to deploy or tip the scale more in that direction.

Jared Klee: There's a scrappiness to every part of what you're talking about, the focus on the whole marketing spend rather than doubling down, the small team, the personal relationships. Take me back to the early days when you were, I believe biking around the city hand delivering stuff, unbelievable stories about what it meant to get the brand off the ground.

The one that still stands out for me is your first product photo shoot. It started scrappy. It's still scrappy. And yet you've achieved this remarkable thousands of customers, almost 5,000 five-star reviews across the platform. Still focused on how do we do the core essentials really, really well. Just take me back to those early days. Some of the fun stories, if it's the product uh launch one, photo shooter, I'm sure there are many, many more.

Matt Mullenax: Yeah, that's a great one. That's a great one to start with. Our initial photo shoot, we had like a casting call and all this stuff is like totally new to me. Right? Like we needed models. Like we needed faces, we need bodies the whole nine. And we had one guy come in. His name was Matt. He's a union worker and he installs elevators.

So he was on lunch break and have like his orange safety vest and whatnot. And the casting call just happened to be on Halloween. And walked into the office and the person at the front desk said like, "oh, I really dig your costume." He was like, I'm on lunch break. This is not my costume." Which was hilarious. So that was kind of like, maybe not starting off on the greatest of a feet. But he's been fantastic. We're still really engaged with him. He's a great guy.

We also had another gentleman come in that day, Aaron, who is a fitness model and does a bunch of different things. And he was so apologetic that his wife got called into work so he had to bring his infant daughter, Journey, with him to the casting. And I was like, "whoa, like, hey, stop apologizing. (B) Like, this is perfect." Cause this, this is exactly what we're talking about. It's for all guys everywhere, every stage of life. And I think early fatherhood is such a great time when a lot of guys would be like, "nope, I gotta start taking care of myself, tossing everything out, starting over."

So it was really cool to capture that moment. Aaron has since joined us and probably three or four subsequent photo shoots and Journey's been at all of those. So we've actually seen her grow up, which was super cool. Again, I think that hearkens back to the brand, I'm just like, so much of this is about a close core intimate group of folks, whether they're models on a shoot set, they're early customers, they're in our community as being a three or four or 10 or 15 times purchaser of Huron.

We are so eternally grateful for the continued support and we want to continue to invite them into the brand as we continue to grow and scale over time, because we do value their perspective, we value their business, obviously, their continued support. But it's just fun to grow alongside with them.

That's really kind of a testament to who we are as a brand. It is that notion of relatability, it is that notion of helping guys help themselves. It's been a core piece of who we are.

Jared Klee: Matt. I love that. I think that's a great place to wrap. We've come full circle on the brand, that return back to the customer obsession, the staying intimate, the personal with them. The humanity of the brand. I mean, you're talking about construction workers on their lunch break, fathers with their young daughters coming in. These are everyday people, not somebody you think of as a model. And they are the essence of both the customer and the brand. I absolutely love it.

Matt Mullenax: That's exactly, right, yup.

Jared Klee: So, Matt, final question. Same question for everyone. What is the biggest win you've had? It could be personal. It could be at work, wherever you want to take it.

Matt Mullenax: I think the biggest win was honestly just getting started with Huron. There are so many reasons why now is not the right time to start. It's you can find a scroll worth of reasons and rationales why today is not the right day, tomorrow's not the right time ,next week won't be either, but you have to be your own voice of yes. To just actually say like, you know what, screw it. Like I'm doing this.

I graduated grad school with the intention of going back into the financial world as an investor. I wasn't as intellectually stimulated doing that. I can now look back over the course of the last three years and say like, that's probably the best decision I've ever made. Maybe not the most lucrative and the immediate term. But in terms of learnings, being able to understand a business across so many functions of the company, of the business. You know, that's something I'm probably most proud of. My biggest win is just saying like, you know what, like we're going to do things different and we're actually going to act on what I've wanted to do for so, so long.

Jared Klee: Matt, that's a great answer. Really appreciate you spend time with me this morning.

Matt Mullenax: Thanks, Jared. Appreciate it.

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