Kevin Williams is a severe, no-nonsense U.S.-based investor. He holds a graduate diploma from the distinguished Thunderbird College of Administration in Arizona. So how did he find yourself operating a grooming firm known as Balls, centered on male non-public components?
He advised me, “The notion of operating Balls is hilarious to everybody who is aware of me. But it surely’s a present to a marketer to work with an edgy product.”
Balls sells grooming provides — razors, trimmers, lotions. The corporate launched in 2019 within the U.Ok. Williams invested in it in 2021 and have become the CEO.
He and I lately mentioned the enterprise of males’s grooming. Your entire audio of our dialog is embedded under. The transcript is edited for readability and size.
Eric Bandholz: Inform us about your enterprise.
Kevin Williams: I personal a consulting and personal fairness agency known as KDF Aegis.
I launched the corporate in 2013. I began by shopping for or licensing mental property reminiscent of patents. Usually it could be an uncle or someone’s boyfriend or father who would have these patents. They’d come to me seeking to promote or monetize their creations. I’d run some rapid-fire minimum-viable-product exams and see if the product may convert.
Then I’d go forward and purchase or license the patent or generally type a partnership. One of many first patents I licensed was for Brush Hero, a water-powered turbine brush used for cleansing automobiles or bikes. After we examined it on-line, there was add-to-cart charge. We went forward and licensed it.
That product grew quickly each within the U.S. and internationally. We appeared on Shark Tank and ultimately offered in Costco, Walmart, Canadian Tire, and different bodily shops, in addition to our web site.
That gave rise to different ecommerce alternatives. I exited that enterprise in 2020 when it was bought by a non-public fairness group that additionally owned a model known as Balls.co.
Bandholz: So that you moved on to Balls.
Williams: Sure. In July 2021 I invested in Balls.co and have become the working associate and CEO. The corporate was based in 2019 within the U.Ok. by Tyler Ball. It sells grooming merchandise for males’s pelvic areas. So “Balls” has a twin which means. It’s the founder’s identify and an outline of the male anatomy.
The notion of operating Balls is hilarious to everybody who is aware of me. But it surely’s a present to a marketer to work with an edgy product. When you’re going to run a model known as Balls, it’s important to personal it. You possibly can’t be refined. That is the so-called “manscaping” area of interest. We promote physique trimmers centered on males’s intimate areas.
Manscaped is one other model within the area. They’re doing a implausible job. They created an air of luxurious across the model. So we concentrate on the “lad” or “bro” area of interest — “lad” being a U.Ok. time period for a younger male.
Bandholz: You’re doing enterprise internationally.
Williams: That’s proper. Once I joined, the corporate ran eight Shopify shops in 4 languages and 4 currencies. My intuition was to simplify the model. However we ended up in a little bit of a entice with present subscribers in all these nations. We needed to proceed operating all of these shops.
Plus, as an American, I didn’t have an insider’s understanding of the ramifications of Brexit till I ran Balls, a U.Ok. firm. Quickly after I joined, among the Brexit customs enforcements kicked in. We ended up with one thing like 3,500 packages caught in E.U. customs. We needed to redo our complete provide chain.
The U.Ok. was our dominant market, adopted by Germany, the remainder of Europe, then France. I’ve by no means been so European-oriented. We needed to discover breakthrough advertising messages.
Bandholz: What was the breakthrough?
Williams: Humor, primarily. Social media channels, Fb particularly, wouldn’t allow us to run advertisements with the phrase “balls.” We needed to get very inventive about our messaging. We leaned closely into content material advertising as a substitute of a direct response. We invested closely into our TikTok channel, which did exceptionally properly, rising in just some months to 150 million views and 300,000 followers. That was all natural.
We examined many ideas and ultimately hit on a quasi-entertainment medium. We discovered superior standup comedians and dispatched them worldwide to interview individuals on the road about their intimate grooming habits. One comic, Oliver Sotra, was implausible.
It’s a little bit of a numbers sport whenever you put a wise comic on the road asking bystanders, “Do you shave your balls?” We had superior outcomes that folks wished to look at.
If it’s completely business, the message is unlikely to carry the buyer’s curiosity. But when it’s all leisure, there’s no motive for them to purchase the product. Most of our TikTok followers probably fall into the leisure realm. The trick is to acknowledge a possibility to develop organically — it’s price doing as a result of the price of model constructing by way of conventional channels is prohibitive.
Our price per thousand impressions on TikTok was within the 20-cent vary for producing this content material. I’ll do that each one day lengthy.
Bandholz: How can of us get in contact with you?
Williams: Go to Balls.co or take a look at our YouTube channel. My Twitter is @KevinOfEdward.