Co-Founder & Head of Operations
On this episode of LEADERS, I talk to three men who were recently on one of my favorite TV shows, Shark Tank. David Yusuf, Alex Amidi, and Sal Aziz are the founding partners of Bouquet Bar. It’s a great product you can check it out here. This was an awesome episode with lots of behind the scenes details from Shark Tank. All three men were immigrants to the United States. It was great digging in to their back stories and their habits for success. If you’re thinking about starting a business with partners, or you already have one, this is a great episode for you because David, Alex, and Sal have a great dynamic and, in my opinion, are a good example of what a heathy partnership can look like.
Quick disclaimer: these transcripts are auto-generated. They are best used in addition to the Podcast audio not instead of. We cannot guarantee 100% accuracy.
James Fratzke: [00:00:00] All right. I am here with the three gentlemen from Bouquet Bar. They were recently just on Shark Tank and I'll let you guys just kind of say your names real quick. We got Who do we got on the phone right now.
Sal Aziz: [00:00:12] Sal Aziz
Alex Amidi: [00:00:13] Alex Amidi
David Yusuf: [00:00:14] And David Yusuf thank you so much for having us.
James Fratzke: [00:00:16] It is absolutely my pleasure. Thank you for making the time for us today. So let me start with the kind of the end of the Shark Tank episode. And David this is a question for you specifically. You said that what you really wanted to do was call your dad afterwards. Did you make that call and how did it go?
David Yusuf: [00:00:33] My wife was actually mad she said why don't you want to call me. And no I didn't make that call. You know the funny thing is my dad knows about sharks but I don't think he realized until the air. I don't think you realize how big it was. But he's a big inspiration for me. So for more on his second calls I made my what I actually called my wipers.
James Fratzke: [00:00:53] Well there you go. So you did call your wife. So what was her reaction when you told her you got to deal with Mark Cuban?
David Yusuf: [00:00:58] I told her You're Lucky had to sign a pre-nump with you. No I'm kidding! You know she was ecstatic. It was just unbelievable thing. All of our dreams come true. We all actually religiously watch Shark Tank. So it was pretty amazing experience.
James Fratzke: [00:01:12] Would all three of you guys on the phone right now consider yourself Entrepreneurs? Or how would you categorize yourself
Sal Aziz: [00:01:18] I would say were pretty entrepreneurial.
James Fratzke: [00:01:20] Sal I didn't get your backstory too much but Alex and David you guys were both immigrants to the states. David you were here and I think you came around 9 you said and Alex around 15 and a half of my getting those right.
Alex Amidi: [00:01:32] Yes you got that right. I was 15.
James Fratzke: [00:01:35] And so David for you. You said a story on Shark Tank where you were selling flowers on the on the corner. And now you're just selling flowers in a box so a little bit similar but different I guess what. What lessons did you learn from that experience? Because that's tough right like that’s sales 101 like you've got to be able to connect with people in a short amount of time and have a lot of resilience because it's not easy. So did you learn any lessons from that experience that have helped you be the founder and CEO of Bouquet Bar?
David Yusuf: [00:02:06] You know I think the biggest thing that I've learned you know doing that was the value of a dollar you know coming to this country like many immigrants do not coming with any money and no parents just trying to make a living and do the best for their kids. You know when you are selling flowers on a corner street I was actually thinking about 11 12 years old. You know when you start making money and you buy things yourself and you do things and stuff like that it gives you a sense of accomplishment. But also it really teaches you the value of a dollar and as you grow up you don't realize it but as you grow up you realize wow you know I remember those days those things really stick with you and you really helped you in your business even though it's such a small thing right now.
James Fratzke: [00:02:51] That brings me to my next question on the episode you guys said that you were you had personally invested about six hundred thousand dollars into the company. How is that it's got to be such a gut wrenching moment. How has that kind of impacted you guys personally? How did you get to the point where you said OK we're doing this we're all in?
David Yusuf: [00:03:12] We all ride bicycles to work now. You know as entrepreneurs I'll tell you really have to believe in your product and if you are a true entrepreneur you do Go all in. But since there's an entrepreneurial thing I will tell you that we've made a lot of mistakes as well. It's not always been good. And entrepreneurs need to know that a lot of the mistakes that we made is we didn't test. So one thing I would recommend to any entrepreneur’s test your product. Just what works that's what doesn't work just what sells. You know because it really gives you a lot of great data and then you know how to pivot. We started out way too big but we are very fortunate to go on Shark Tank and now the Shark Tank has happened. We have the facilities we have the inventorying everything. But I can tell you that if Shark Tank didn't happen we would be a little bit of a trouble. I think we would still have success but obviously we've got this great deal that's accelerated us right.
James Fratzke: [00:04:05] You guys definitely. You said on the episode that you started the company about four months ago how long from the time that you guys take that episode did it take for it to air? I know it aired back in January of this year. So what was kind of the span between taping and airtime?
David Yusuf: [00:04:21] It was hard because once we made a deal were forced enough to make a deal with Mark Cuban. And once you make it real I don't know if anybody knows this but 60 to 70 percent of the deals fall apart after the hand shake. I've heard that so we're very fortunate to make a deal with March's team has been amazing. We went through a rigorous due diligence period. It took about five months. We closed the deal in about end of November and then early January we got a call saying we're going to be on Shark Tank. It took Good seven months to finally realize realizing the other thing that you hear over and over when you are on Shark Tank is you are not guaranteed to air. So they tell you that you know so but it's just an amazing platform it's an amazing show because I think it's really transformed entrepreneurs the way people think that people get inspired. So it's been a great platform.
James Fratzke: [00:05:06] Now you guys have seen the episode and I hate watching myself on camera so I totally empathize with you guys right now, but I have to call out the elephant in the room a little bit. You were a little nervous at the beginning at least what they kept in the edit. So what were like the nerves going through your guises bloodstream as you were standing there with the cameras on and everything like what were you thinking?
Sal Aziz: [00:05:28] Maybe I should answer that since I was the most nervous I Sal by the way thanks. Yeah I think they build you up like they the buildup is really a. You know you go in front of the executive producers and you have these producers there are assigned to you and they cannot just build you up like a you know a lot of people don't know this when you walk on the carpet. There's one minute of silence and all the lights are on you. And we actually changed our pitch debate last minute. Wow. So there were some you know some audible cues that were going off of that you know was just thrown off. But you know we were in there for almost an hour. Right. Actually exactly an hour and it was. It was you know obviously you know we're dealing with TV so it is edited in a great way but after the initial kind of mess we had a really good conversation flow with all the sharks. I mean we were in there. You know we had great dialogue with Laurie with Damon with Mark structurally and even Mr. Wonderful. So you know it goes pretty fast when they have it edited and it kind of you know it wasn't as bad as they made it seem like you know the initial message was just maybe two or three seconds after that. You know Alex made them laugh. We had somebody had a really funny story about working at Burger King and we had some other stories my breakdowns the same. Same as Alex and David's. I came here in 1991 from Afghanistan. You know my dad passed away over there so just my mom you know working two jobs to make sure that we I have a brother and a sister to make sure we have a good life here so what kind of bonds us three together and why we work so out together. Probably that upbringing and that same kind of roots. So back to your question. Yeah it was it was extremely nerve wracking in fact they actually have a psychologist talk to you after the show ends because you know you're able to get your heart rate so high and then that emotional rollercoaster whether you get a deal or don't get a deal essentially like you know your life savings are in this business. Everybody sacrificed so much to get a deal with Mark, to be on the show presenting our case. It's just nerves are all over the place so yeah it was it was definitely very nerve wracking.
James Fratzke: [00:07:36] I bet I bet, but I agree with you. I mean I only saw the edit I wasn't there for the hour but after that initial kind of stumble I thought that all three of you guys did a very good job of connecting with the sharks and getting to the numbers. And I think that they seemingly appreciated that. But what I noticed was that the Sharks started dropping kind of one after another relatively quickly. What was that like when Laurie was like yeah this is kind of like Sugarfina, I'm now like. What was that initial feeling from you guys?
Sal Aziz: [00:08:11] Obviously the first experience obviously you want to you know we want every judge to be and be all over you right. But right there definitely is a shock where we stand our ground really well. I think we explained why we're so different and we don't have a competitor in the field. Sugarfina not wanting her flowers always get to do what they do really well like I think they are great companies that you know like for example wine or flowers really well and they were doing it for 30 plus years. But we're different we're flower based and we brought in that whole element of gifting along with flowers and you know we offer more than just flowers and candy. You know we have candles we have lotion we face scrub we have socks you know underwear nuts. And we're bringing on more stuff coffee tea. So we're trying to touch every kind of occasional base. So for example if this is a sympathy you don't want to just send candy to somebody who's you know maybe has lost somebody. But you know some white flowers candles and maybe some lavender chocolates or even some tea might soothe their pain. Maybe not replaced but it will do that. Now for a birthday you know it's your brother's birthday or your sister's birthday you want something cheerful. You can send popcorn you can send chocolates you can send beautiful flowers so we allow you to really customize based on the occasion. And because we have some expert florist on our team and one of the best designers on our team as well Flowers is what anchors our business.
Alex Amidi: [00:09:43] One of the things I want to add to that one of the things that you do get you know high end shark things when they start asking questions even though we were there our only got edited to a lot much less. You don't sometimes give you the opportunity to give the story of our business right. When Laurie brought that up one of the things we wanted to try to explain that we have so many different products involved with glowers and other things that this is a gifting platform is not only about chocolates and candies. We have so many other things and so many other product lines in the works for the future because we are the art of gift envy. We created this thing to create product lines that goes into the gifting boxes for different and different occasions and reasons you know. And she never gave that opportunity to us to answer. And that's how it is in charge. But for people are listening to days you know OK bar is a company that's going to be ongoing with gifting and offering to have all kind of items and locations for the consumer to buy. And that's what's so beautiful about us that's what sets us apart from sugar Queen or any other country company.
Sal Aziz: [00:10:57] And one of the things is after Lori dropped off and no editing makes it seem like they dropped one after the other. We had some really good conversations with Mr. Wonderful Damon and ask them the questions and then even Mark Cuban about you know why we are so different or why we are so you got to know saw that. But the Mr. Wonderful said this is probably the best box design and we've ever seen in shorthand. And part of the conversation went to that we spent a few minutes on that like how did you design it. What was the inspiration behind it. So there's a lot of thought and you know thing that I want to mention. I know that there was one dropping after another. But mind you that we did the shot take three or four months after we had been lied to the public and our customer cost of customer acquisition was pretty high. You know we made some early mistakes. Now if we had done short take now maybe Mr. Wonderful somebody you guys will have you know different thought process because we have significantly brought down our costs. We really made sure our processes are more efficient. We're not wasting money on items that people will buy. We're testing everything before we get into the next level of you know buying more inventory so we're more efficient and in every sense of the word. And we're continuing to improve each process as we move forward.
James Fratzke: [00:12:18] But there's so many things I want to ask you so stick with me here. I want to start with you made a great point here your cost of acquisition has come down. The business has improved. Do you guys are you able to get the contact information of some of these other investors and come back to them and do a follow up or that kind of one and done and you're not really able to come back to these folks?
Sal Aziz: [00:12:41] Now we can come back to them I'll tell you a funny story a friend of ours was in Vegas for an event and he is he is very well connected in Vegas and he happened to be one of Damon John's parties and they started chatting and he told him Hey are our friend was on Shark Tank cable and he's like oh I love their product. Please have him contact my people. I want to buy some corporate gifting for some of the things that I'm doing. And so we were in contact with there were demons of people we reached out to them to see if we can set that up.
James Fratzke: [00:13:12] David you had made such a great point. I think anybody who ever watches Shark Tank watches this way. Oh say this or say that or do whatever but then you were in the moment and you really did fight to keep Mark on the hook in until finally closed that deal. What is in you that allowed you to not give up and keep going. Have there ever been any experiences in your life where you've been faced with something like that in the past where you've wanted to give up and said no shoot I got to keep plowing forward?
David Yusuf: [00:13:48] You know I think all three of us sitting here we have that mentality of just not giving up. I think having the father that I had in my life he's turned around and taught. You know he was he never sat down with me and said Don't give up. He never said that to me. You know I get half of my kids all the time. But he just had this attitude of just you know going out there and doing it you know that really teaches you a lot. You know actions speak louder than words as they say. And I said that on the show too and I'll say this now but it's funny I kind of roleplay with myself a times in my head and I'll watch a movie. And you know let's just say the girls breaking up with the guy and I could see there's a saying that or do this and do that and it was funny it was I was in the tank and it actually dropped off not quickly. It shows on the show quickly but the I jumped off slowly but when three of the sharks fell out and there was just Mr. Wonderful Marge you know my dad I'm sure Sal was thinking the same thing and Alex was thinking the same thing. You know I guess. Alex was having to design questions. So I was handling the check questions and I was selling the business questions on my hand. I was like David this is it. You know like you talk about this you talk about this with kids that do not go on. And as soon as Kevin O'leary said it's with heavy heart after you know other go out, Mark Cuban said Great the reference out of the way let's talk so that was I'll be honest with you that was a big hope for all of us. You know I don't want to speak for the guys you here but I'm sure you know there's a big hope for like OK this guy's interest and we you know me personally I really had my with Mark I had listened to every tape, read his books, everything. So we really wanted to show what the real people we are and I really look up to Mark Cuban a lot because he thinks differently that's our model. We think differently and that's what Mark does. He sees things that other people don't see. So yeah it was definitely like this is it man don't get up...
Sal Aziz: [00:15:46] Funny story when we're when we're prepping for shark tank. We know we all made a list of the sharks that we wanted. And when we came back to the table all of us had more as number one. You know some people have won one number two or lawyers or whatever it may be but we all had Mark so maybe subconsciously when we were in the tank you kind of talking to him indirectly anyways. And like that you know that was a 15-minute edited version of an hour of us being I'm sure. But we had an we had amazing dialogue with them and you actually stood up for us a few times when Mr. Wonderful called out for customer acquisition. Mark was like wanna be serious. Only been in business for three months. And you should see some of the numbers that I see and then more he said something and he stood up for us. So maybe you know in laws of attraction in some weird way all three of us were kind of sending that energy towards him and even towards the very end when you know when he said all this close to give me a deal he still kind of you know you could tell. You know you wanted to help us. And he's been unbelievable you know after the show helping us and giving us all these opportunities. You know I don't know if you know an art that he just he recently tweeted us out is 2.7 million followers. Like hey guys do Valentine's Day right got to Bouquet Bar, which is you know I don't I don't know if he's done that or any with any of us entrepreneurs or not but we are definitely blessed to have them on our team and have his insight and knowledge. And
James Fratzke: [00:17:12] you guys got to be happy with the fact the episode aired two weeks before Valentine's Day right. Like that's going to be a blessing and then Mark tweets out the tweet “Hey do Valentine's Day right”. So what kind of bump have you guys experienced and from kind of a behind the scenes. How has it been if you have experienced this increase. How's it been kind of running at a level that maybe you guys haven't been running at before?
David Yusuf: [00:17:38] It's funny you say that because you know like works in a weird way. So we were really hoping to air during the holidays. We really wanted to because you know you get a big boost there and stuff like that and we find out that we're not going to air because the schedule has come up and stuff. And you know obviously the next big thing was for us if we aren't our date was the 21st of January. The reason we like the 21st of January is that it gave us the release of Valentine's Day so we would get a shark tank bomb. And then also I have time to prepare for Valentine's Day and get a Valentine's Day bomb. And when we got that call saying you know you guys are on January 21st. It was just amazing because we were prepared. We think you know we had our we had our marketing team ready our PR team ready. Our products were even better. We had made some changes to our Web site. So it worked. It worked amazingly in regards to the numbers. I can tell you that we have probably gone brown at least we're probably going to grow our numbers for the month of February at least 10 to 15 times hold its speed and our conversion rate has gone up from about one point five percent. Today we're running at about eight point five percent conversion rate. So it's been amazing.
James Fratzke: [00:18:51] Wow that's almost unheard of. I assume you're talking more like PVC cost per click on Google from a conversion rate standpoint. Yeah that's pretty great. So from that standpoint you guys got into it a little bit on Shark Tank but then it got swerved onto a different conversation. What is kind of Sol I think this is your camp from the well I guess you're more of the technology guy but I don't know who the marketing guy is on the team but what is kind of your guys is main path to acquisition today is it all online. Is there anything else you guys are doing that's me also.
Sal Aziz: [00:19:23] Yeah. So we have two channels. Obviously at the time we were running in multiple channels. So just to kind of give you a background what type of shark tank you running on Facebook were running on Yahoo's native ads running on Google. We were doing remote acquisitions and then we were also doing affiliate marketing. So out of all those two channels Google was obviously the most successful for us because its content base audience. They're looking for a spring civic occasion and we really short think we really did well on Mother's Day and kill it for the rest of the year with birthdays right. Facebook we had some struggles with finding the right audience. But now with the branding out there and people are putting the brand behind the name we're starting to get a lot of really great acquisition on Facebook. We we've kind of you know what walked away from Yahoo. Native ads but email's been such a huge channel for us. I mean over the course of just short 10 we captured some 6000 e-mails and we've had a ridiculous 50 percent open rate. And just amazing 13 14 15 percent click through rates sometimes 20 percent to 8 cents a ton of a ton of purchases from e-mail which we already knew from the very start. I told David like look e-mail is going to be compressed specifically because of what and who we are. Right. So we're location based gifting company you know imagine getting an e-mail five or ten days before your wife's birthday hate for the time that you know you're. You're more likely.
James Fratzke: [00:20:58] And I haven't got anything.
Sal Aziz: [00:21:00] You're more likely to convert with that e-mail. And those are some of the things that we're working on. We're going to start automate those e-mails. We're going to start to capture birthdays anniversaries so that we can start sending reminders out right now. We have an unbelievable you know 13 percent shopping abandoned meant recovery which is super high for people in our state so we're doing really well. So right now two main source of acquisition for us is New nuclides is Google and Facebook and then we also have you know obviously our PR social team is doing a great job getting this out there with you know celebrities we were featured. We were on Housewives of Atlanta our boss who featured in Marlo's house and several other key placements that we had were in talks with a couple athletes now that you know will cover the posts for us on Valentine's Day. A lot of mail following there. We have some influence there based marketing. Coming up for the Xbox. But with Shark Tank and Mark's influence we know we had more than we can handle and we're ready to explode.
James Fratzke: [00:22:08] Let me shift gears really quick. I know David you went to the University of San Diego. I think Sal you did Riverside. Alex did you go to college?
Alex Amidi: [00:22:18] You know I actually I'm a dropout I was always street smart hardworking. I'm a quick learner. I never got to finish schooling was like I said in the past. I came to this country with my brother no parents. Four thousand dollars in my pocket so it came to a point that it was either I put food on the table go to school. So at that point I had to. You know I remember that day I lost my job was sitting and I didn't have no running water at my house. I had two tortillas and few dates and I was I was about to be on the street. And at that point I realized I need to go get get a job and I need to stop going to school. So unfortunately I never got to finish that. But you know I always put my efforts and 100 percent into business and work. And you know being smart about what I do. And you know if I could have gone back to school I would definitely do and I would tell everybody that has a chance to go back to school. They definitely need to do that because that really sets you up in life in many different ways. It's the greatest thing every young person and all persons should do and have. I don't know by this point in my life I'm going to go back to school or not. Probably not. I'm 45 46 years old.
Alex Amidi: [00:23:50] While you're halfway done. Absolutely. Just get better now. You need to know something as stated and don't try. Google.
James Fratzke: [00:24:01] Yeah man everything is a power your phone there. So my question was kind of and I love. Alex thank you for sharing. My question was going to be you'd like David and from your guys perspective if you could do it over again would you have said screw school. I'm going to get right into being an entrepreneur. Or do you think that your path that you took was the right one and it set you up for success later on?
Sal Aziz: [00:24:26] No I think I think for me at least I can't speak for everybody else everybody is made differently. I think school was very important and I actually enjoyed going to school. I had a completely different path. I told you my path my career path. It's shifted so many times so I went school work for sociology. My whole focus was to get my Ph.D. and become a professor took a year off and made some really good money and then you know started becoming an entrepreneur and going into digital media and technology. And my last boss I'll tell you a funny story because I might add the business one of my last Ponce's was a digital classic like I'm never going to use this. So I draw on five years later I'm fully involved building you know building products for necessities and digital media. But I wouldn't do it. I think school was very huge for me.
James Fratzke: [00:25:16] What about you David.
David Yusuf: [00:25:18] No I think school is really big. I actually was a bio chem major minor Econ and you know for me you know I think the path that you take whether even if let's just say if I said school was not the right place if I didn't go to school I wouldn't be where I am today and I can take nothing back. I mean my path has been amazing ups and downs but no I think school is really really important. I didn't get a thing. Also I think I would advise people. And I said this earlier and you know current business partner fortunate to have him is Mark Cuban. You know he talks a lot about reading and researching and I think I would really suggest that for any entrepreneur you know back in our days a little bit older I'm 41. You know school was really only the resource so you know we got encyclopedia and then obviously the Internet came. But there's so many resources now there's podcasts like yours that are great. There's you know research there's all kinds of stuff you know they see at least an hour a day podcast reading something of that sort. It really gives you a lot of things. There's this program on NPR called up with Guy Ross you know how I got this amazing stories of people how they got their company and the one thing that you hear in all these entrepreneurs is just the passion of never giving up. You know simple as that.
James Fratzke: [00:26:29] Well and that's that is the key driver between the want-trepreneur which I think is a Mark Cuban word he made the want-trepreneur and the entrepreneur right. And it's that ability to keep driving forward. Let me shift gears to this question. What are some of the tactics that you guys use each day to stay focused and you know keep grinding away at the vision at the goal is there anything that you guys do that you think could be helpful to share with the audience any habits or tactics that you practice on a day to day basis?
David Yusuf: [00:27:02] I think what's great is each of us have a different department and different areas that we do like solar panels knowledge to help design a business. For me particularly I really try to read a lot. I try to see what's going on online and I try to read what's going on at the malls. I try to see people's behaviors. I try to listen to a lot of podcasts entrepreneurs so again going back to reading this. I think it's really important for me.
Alex Amidi: [00:27:29] I can tell you for me to day basis more like I do some of the stuff that David said. He's very good at that. I tried to learn from the people around me you know. So you say actually great business partners I tried to listen and see what they do. That's one part of the focus on business and learning from each other and that thing is being organized and you know driven and being innovative and think about the next steps and you know not think about just today think about you know two months three months four months a year from now what you see in business you need to do and you get there. And you know for me it's all about getting the pastime for the day but also looking at all the tasks in the future.
Sal Aziz: [00:28:18] So for me I think visualization is exciting for me so when I wake up in the morning I always try to visualize what's going to happen during the day or we're going to do a month from now a year from now and you know workplace caber going to be in the future. One of the ways I stay focused and I stay energized is our Jaylee you know kind of huddles here at give or get work. We're still a very small startup. We're making some headway. As far as Shark Tank concerned are name is really getting out there and just our relentlessness to not just let this wave right itself out. We don't want this thing to just explode right. So every day we have a different you know we're trying different avenues to make sure we grow the right we're attacking you know whether it's advice for more or going after its users or building the technology whatever it is trying to make sure we're more efficient so every day there's a new challenge. And I tell David I love these days because I have three kids and I I think I'm here at the office and I don't and it's already 8 o'clock at night. We're back with Peter. So it's the days go by which means which means you're doing really good work. And so just to stay motivated it's always just us three I think we keep each other motivated.
James Fratzke: [00:29:34] So let me ask you a few questions about the three of you because it sounds like in the limited time that I've gotten to know you guys you get along really well and you kind of understand you know what each one of you brings to the table and the expertise that you have. But one of the most difficult things about being a startup and having cofounders is disagreements and not necessarily seeing eye to eye. Is that something that you guys struggle with at all or how do you keep it. How do you keep it civil?
David Yusuf: [00:30:03] I think everybody has has the know what their roles are and be respectful of each other I mean Alex and I were business partners for a good five years and has always been a good friend of mine so you know I told Alex about Sal and he came in and we interviewed him and stuff and you know what I was talking to was everything that he said half the stuff I don't understand either. And we kind of we kind of like you left the room we kind of give each other high fives you like it's awesome like we don't understand what the hell he's saying but it sounds good. You don't know that part us or our team was missing. And you know like for example I've had a lot to do with design you know styles have to do with design. So everybody knows what their core is but we sat down as a team and like get each other's opinions and you know learn. I mean don't get me wrong in partnerships it's always hard and stuff but end of the day if everybody knows where or where the finishing line is. You can get along and do it right.
Sal Aziz: [00:30:59] And I think I think you know there's going to be arguments which means me data out you all have shouting matches and a lot of things you know I'm a basketball player and I always fall bye spreads. You know what stays inside these life stays within these lines. It's just basketball it is what it is. Same thing here. You know we've all we're all friends outside of work so we've done a really good job is we're able to criticize each other we're able to get in each other's faces were able to call each other for weaknesses whatever it may be or for certain mistakes. The cool thing is after this the day's over or over at home it's we're still friends we're still partners and we can come back and the next day and just say hey I was you know that's just as everybody. Not that not everybody in this team is saying oh well I just I just want to say I'll be all three of us want to succeed. And the goal is the same. That's what makes us like bonding and glue together because that's one goal at the end of saying I'm going to add to that one thing.
Alex Amidi: [00:31:58] I think between three of us our background is helpful because we immigrated from certain a certain part of the war. We understand each other live better than we all are from different parts of the world. And the thing is we all three individuals are driven but also at the same time we understand each other's expertise. So but that same time with that expertise we are we are OK and comfortable to about each other's role and if we have good idea as we have any kind of comments on each other we trust each other what we do OK like I trust. David and Solomon they trust me. So at the end of the day there is questions about it. We'll talk about it. We'll see what we can do at the end of the day. You pair yourself with people who are better than you in different things and when you do that doing business that's always more success for everybody. And if you're open minded and you listen and you question and to better something it's always things come out better so. We’ll all three open minded that way so I think that's one of the things that really helps us you know move forward and do things and for better or for the business. And we're very understanding. We don't have egos we're humble you know we're all hardworking. So all those I mean we all met each other we know that we're going to have a long while.
James Fratzke: [00:33:24] JIM COLLINS I don't know because I've read the book Good to Great. But one of his things he says the great companies the executives and the leaders they all argue with each other but they're all fighting for the same thing they want to make sure that the best strategy is being used that the best product is being put forward. It sounds like that's what you guys do right. You don't mind saying that you agree or disagree with each other because you all have the same interests in mind which is building bouquet bar into the biggest greatest thing that it can be.
David Yusuf: [00:33:55] You know one of the things that when you start reading this business books a lot of a lot of the things that they teach you as I wouldn't say common sense but it is common sense. Like for example Jeff Bezos talks about he has a lot to concentrate on some basic things. So tell me one person that doesn't want cheaper shipping everybody knows or not because you don't know. Tell me one person that doesn't want better customer service because of customer service. We're very customer centric. So sometimes I feel that companies get to get make things too complicated. You sometimes have to go to basics and those are the things that make the company last longer and one of the things that we really try to do when we came out with the company is that we wanted to make sure that the customer loves the product the customer has an amazing experience with the product because it doesn't matter what the price point is or where you're at. And that experience is amazing. Even though we have Google or Facebook there is no better marketing. And I say this hands down and I'll always be the case is when I'm out there's not never better marketing than work.
James Fratzke: [00:34:57] Absolutely. Well Matt box shows up and it shows up to somebody is office or whatever it is. Well what is that. Oh wow this is really high quality stuff and those are pretty flowers. And you better believe that everybody is going to be watching that and saying where do I get that thing. So that's why word of mouth is so huge in today's world.
Sal Aziz: [00:35:15] I'll tell you a success story on that word of mouth. So when we first started we you know we knew that one of the main areas going to be businesses. I think you know a lot of there's not a lot of when you get corporate gifting. So we knew that. We reached out to mortgage companies real estate companies tech companies whatever it may be. We partner up with the mortgage company they're a huge mortgage company out of San Diego they do massive amounts volume. We started because we started subsamples and they really like that they started with me 10 boxes. Their first quarter was just ten boxes and was going out to their real estate agents. They thought our box price was too expensive at the beginning so they sent their top agents. And what happened was those agents loved those boxes so much that they got more referrals. Kate thank you so much that was amazing. DURDA and so then Dave they increased up to 20 and then they went to 30 and then they went 40 and now they're over a hundred bucks a month with us every month. Right. And what's happened there is they're sending these boxes to real estate agents an agent in real estate firms because they real estate agents refer them deals. And what's happening is now other real estate agents are seeing our boxes arrive at their office and they're asking what program are you guys and we want to be in the same program. So they're getting called in from real estate agents saying hey I don't know a program you have what we want to we want to be a part of that. And now they've actually created a program for real estate agents from these offices and they've actually doubled or tripled their referral base just off of gifting. So so you know that's a little success story for us. And there's many more of those that we're building on but that's a really good one because we have this customer now on a monthly basis.
James Fratzke: [00:36:57] Well that's part of what you were sharing saw or I think David you said on the tank like part of our job is to educate people on the fact that they're not gifting right. And so I think like education is the new marketing and so you guys do have this great opportunity to educate. Use that as a platform for marketing as well and saw your kind of point there was is that you can kind of educate companies hey by gifting you can see your conversion rates increase you can see your close rates increase so that's kind of a cool education story that you can teach to those customers. All right guys so we are getting towards the end of our time so I have a few rapid fire questions I want to throw at you. And then I will let you get back to building this business I'm sure it's a very busy time for you guys so here's the first one. And I guess we'll just kind of go around the horn really quick. So we'll start with David if you could write a postcard to anybody past or present who would you write it to. And what would it say.
David Yusuf: [00:37:58] It caught me off guard one more time.
James Fratzke: [00:38:02] You know that question catches everybody off guard 100 percent of the time. So here it is one more time. If you could write a postcard to anybody past or present who would it be and what would it say.
David Yusuf: [00:38:16] You know I would I would probably say hands on my parents and it would just be simple. Thank you for everything you've done for me. What I would would be nothing. So that's it. That would be my love it.
James Fratzke: [00:38:30] We're going over to you now Alex. Well that postcard for you. Who would say.
Alex Amidi: [00:38:36] One postcard about Cindy Crawford. I so thank you. That would be definitely to my dad because I as early age are always looked up to him as a businessman and entrepreneur. And I think even though it hasn't been my life since I was 26 years old I think he's always been here. So that's what I would do. I would write something really nice and thank you for every bit of me.
James Fratzke: [00:39:11] Well thank for that Alex that's really heartfelt and touching. Saw you last.
Sal Aziz: [00:39:16] I'm going to go. I'm going to go a little geek here but I would write to Nick like Tesla. He's always been one of my favorite inventors of all time. And in my postcard would be you know how would how would you make this world better with the amount of technology that exists now. You know how would he make this world better and what kind of products or inventions would make this world currently better.
James Fratzke: [00:39:43] And I love that idea. It's kind of like back to the future a little bit so that you can kind of take those ideas and propel them forward. Let me give you guys this last question I'll let you guys go. Who is your biggest kind of business role model that you look up to. It could be a Jeff Bezos. It could be. Mark Zuckerberg and maybe just a quick explanation of what you appreciate about them.
David Yusuf: [00:40:06] I would say definitely Steve Jobs simply because he thinks differently. You know he thought differently. And his model really is you know think different. And he really live by that and now you know you are you. I always say you get attracted to certain people and we've been fortunate enough to have Mark Cuban as a business partner now. And I would say Mark Cuban as well because he thinks differently. He really does and I just realized when I was talking to you right now I've always wanted to work with people that think differently and just do things a little bit differently. And Mark does that. And I just realized that we have a business partner maybe not Steve Jobs but as Steve Jobs that we have Mark Cuban so I would say those two people love it.
James Fratzke: [00:40:47] Sal I’m coming to you
Sal Aziz: [00:40:50] My this is one thing that the next day and night it was our affinity and love for Apple. So my Steve Jobs I love you know what he kind of stood for him and how you built the company in the products that he's new. He was able to build and then change the world. So definitely look at him as as a role model because not only was he a great businessman but he was also a great product guy which resonates with me very highly.
James Fratzke: [00:41:17] All right Alex your last make it good.
Alex Amidi: [00:41:20] Well I guess Steve Jobs is the big name today. I have to say Steve Jobs is one of them I have two as well Steve Jobs. My thing is I mean iPhone and Apple computers are as beautiful pieces of art to me. So you know I'm coming from a design background hydrophones look what they what they portrayed what they show and how they work. Obviously the technology part of its way up the curve for years and years. But to have that innovation to have that design that look how everybody goes to the Apple stores can be to buy the next iPhone you know all that as part of that perspective and how it makes people wanted and then other than just the technology is big for me. And also another person would be Spielberg. I am no fan of movies and this guy had a big role in my life as far as creativity goes. He has done so many amazing movies and I mean she can keep going on and on and still do to this day. So he's been an inspiration for me as well in the creative world.
James Fratzke: [00:42:33] I love all of those. Here's the last thing I want you guys to share with us. What's the best way for people to stay in contact with bouquet box and to stay in contact with you guys personally.
David Yusuf: [00:42:46] LinkedIn has a great platform you know right now we'll get through Valentine's Day. So we'll definitely try to get back to people.
David Yusuf: [00:42:54] So I would say LinkedIn
Sal Aziz: [00:42:55] And I think all our social platforms as well. So across Facebook Instagram and then through e-mail our Web site any kind of customer service issue are always available. And that's one huge thing for us. Customer service is number one of our list. All three of us
James Fratzke: [00:43:13] Guys thank you so much. Have a great day.
David Yusuf: [00:43:15] Thank you.