Each month we showcase a different entrepreneur whose small business we’ve been following in our Brands that Bloom Series.
This month we caught up with Justin from Fiber Light. He reached out on Instagram and when we looked into the Fiber Light brand, we were super impressed with what they have going on, so spotlighting them was obvious!
Fiber Light is a veteran-owned company that produces fire starting survival gear for any outdoors situation. Their founder, Justin, is a serial entrepreneur but this is his first product business. He’s learned a ton since starting Fiber Light in 2017 and we’re excited to have the opportunity to share his wise words with you!
Interview with Justin; the Serial Entrepreneur Behind Fiber Light.
Tell us a little bit about your entrepreneurial journey.
I started my first business in high school when I was 15 yrs old. Starting my first business at such a young age planted the Entrepreneur seed and it has been growing ever since.
The only time in the 22 years since then that I haven’t actively been building a business was during my 4 years in the Marine Corps, but being a business owner is something I can’t shut off. I have had short periods of time where I have had “normal” jobs but I am always thinking of new businesses or building a business on the side.
And what about the Fiber Light brand story? How did this latest business come about?
I started Fiber Light in Jan 2017. Typically for me the product or service that my businesses have provided has never been the thing I am in love with, it is the process of building the business/brand that I am in love with. Same goes for Fiber Light.
I did not start Fiber Light because I am a life long outdoorsman, I started it because I saw something that I could turn into a business and build a brand around.
I have a gift to be able to process an idea in my head very fast. I can think of a business idea and within seconds run it through a lifecycle and have a pretty good idea of where it can go.
The biggest thing when I start a business that is my first priority is just finding out if the market will buy whatever I’m selling. Once I figure that out all of the hard work is over. The last step with Fiber Light is moving into big box retail, which we have already begun.
How are you building loyalty into Fiber Light? Any tricks you’ve learned along the way?
Believe it or not monthly subscription boxes has been a huge part of growing the brand.
The hardest part is getting your brand in front of your market. With social media these days getting in front of your market is easier than ever before!
You, the business owner, can’t be bigger than your customers. Allowing them to easily communicate with you directly is so important! Being there for them when they have questions or concerns and going above and beyond is key.
What do you struggle most with when it comes to growing Fiber Light?
All of my previous businesses have been service based businesses. Fiber Light is my first venture into retail. Retail is a completely different beast! Learning the in’s and out’s of retail has been the main thing that slowed us down. I wish I knew how important trade shows were earlier.
My biggest struggle now is just time and delegation. My business partner and I do everything ourselves. Unfortunately there is only 24 hrs in a day for me to do as much as I can each day. I haven’t gotten to the point where I can hire people to delegate important tasks to, but we are getting there!
Anything else you think may be important/useful for readers to know about growing a business?
My ugly baby thesis is something I hope every young Entrepreneur can take from this! The concept is simple:
We all have a friend or family member that have unfortunate luck and have an ugly baby. Most of the time they are the ones who are constantly telling you how beautiful their baby is. They are blinded by the love they have for that ugly baby. I get it! I have kids myself and I know how much I love them!
As an entrepreneur starting a new business, it’s easy to fall into that same trap. I encourage you to do everything in your power to quickly find out if your baby (business/product) is beautiful or ugly. Your market has to be the one to tell you and you have to listen.
How to Follow Fiber Light
You can find them at fiberlightfs.com/ or follow them on Instagram @fiberlightfirestarter