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About The Guest
Christian Schauf is the founder and CEO of Uncharted Supply Company, a manufacturer of high-quality survival systems and products made to empower people with the proper gear and education to guide them back to safety in an unanticipated emergency.
From being named Armed Forces Entertainer of the Year by the Pentagon for his time entertaining troops at some of the most dangerous bases in Iraq (he made more than 40 visits over eight years) to surviving a few life or death situations, he is a serial adventurer, athlete, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.
- 00:00 — Intro
- 02:43 — Christian Schauf’s origin story
- 06:10 — What was the first diversion that Christian Schauf made?
- 07:20 — How does Christian Schauf figure out product-market fit?
- 10:56 — How did Christian launch his products into the market?
- 12:31 — How does Christian evolve his business?
- 15:15 — When did Christian Schauf find the right product-market fit?
- 16:25 — Did Christian Schauf’s achievements help his product to get launched?
- 19:36 — What was the worst experience Christian has ever had?
- 22:20 — What are some of the things that Christian Schauf fixed to make his business safe for the future?
- 23:45 — How does Christian Schauf find the right team?
- 25:06 — What is Christian Schauf’s process of upscaling his business?
- 28:10 — What has worked well and what hasn’t in terms of marketing strategy?
- 30:35 — What is Christian Schauf trying to solve in people’s lives?
- 35:13 — How has Christian Schauf made people aware of the tools in their medkits?
- 36:33 — What has Christian Schauf changed his opinion on in the last 2 years?
- 38:51 — What does Christian want people to say or think about the company?
- 40:35 — Where do people connect with Christian Schauf?
- 41:17 — What was the biggest challenge of Christian Schauf’s life?
- 42:56 — Who is Christian Schauf’s mentor?
- 44:28 — A book or a podcast recommended by Christian Schauf
- 45:57 — What would Christian Schauf tell his 20-year-old self?
- 47:19 — What does success mean to Christian Schauf?
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On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups, and entrepreneurship.
The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.
Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures, and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas, and insights.
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Machine Generated Transcript
people, building, day, buy, learning, company, kits, product, life, uncharted, hiring, big, friends, thought, indiegogo, business, couple, create, orders, survival
Christian Schauf, Scott D Clary
Scott D Clary 00:00
Welcome to success story, the most useful podcast in the world. I’m your host Scott D. Clary. The success story podcast is part of the HubSpot Podcast Network and the blue wire Podcast Network. The HubSpot Podcast Network has incredible podcasts like my first million. My first million is hosted by Sam Parr and Shawn Peri, they feature famous guests. They discuss how companies made their first million and then some they brainstorm new business ideas based on the hottest trends and opportunities in the marketplace. Here are some of the topics he talked about. If you like any of these, you will love the show three profitable business ideas that you should start in 2020 to drunk business ideas that can make you millions, asking the founder of Grammarly how he built a $13 billion company or Sass companies that anybody can start. If these topics are up your alley, go check out my first million. Listen to it wherever you listen to your podcast. today. My guest is Christian Shoaf. He is the founder and CEO of Uncharted supply CO which is a survival tools and pack company. Now he grew up on a farm in Wisconsin, where he had clones a biodiesel plant and 1000s of acres of crops. He played in a band around the world for over a decade he traveled to Iraq. More than 40 times he had his 30th birthday party and Saddam Hussein’s bedroom. He started a few companies had some exits, recorded with Prince scuba dived with Richard Branson. trained with some of the world’s best athletes, he climbed some of the world’s tallest mountains completed Iron Man’s spent weeks in the Yukon hunting the largest animals in North America. He is the perfect personality to create a survival product and a survival supplies company. So he built Uncharted supply Ico with his own money. He went all in, he invested his nest egg into this company. We spoke about some of the companies and successes that he’s had previous and some of the lessons that he’s learned, but also mostly what he’s done building out a survival product company in a relatively new industry with not a lot of competition and how he’s navigated that everything from investing all of his money, starting the company on Indiegogo going on Shark Tank, hiring the best building a culture, scaling and marketing the company, the lessons that he’s learned across basically everything all the hats that he’s worn as an entrepreneur. So this is a pure entrepreneurship play. And he’s incredibly motivating, just as a person based on all the incredible stuff that he’s done over his life. Let’s jump right into it. This is Christian Schauf, the founder and CEO of Uncharted supply co
Christian Schauf 02:44
My name is Christian Schauf. I’m the founder of Uncharted supply company. And we’re about five years old. I’ve been working on this for about seven years. And the origin really of Uncharted kind of revolves around who I am in my life experiences I, I grew up on a farm in Wisconsin, I from there went to college at the University of Wisconsin Madison, a couple degrees there. From there, I started playing in a band and that led me around the world. But interestingly took me to Iraq 39 times where I began as a musician with my band, my brother playing, playing shows over there and it kind of ended as us providing a lot of entertainment for the troops overseas, we figured out a way to get entertainment to the smaller bases, the Ford operating bases and joint security stations by kind of being smart and packaging things differently. But that in turn also created a ton of uncertainty and danger of going into smaller, less protected places. So for a big section of my life, you know, I grew up farm farm upbringing, where you’re learning how to dress for the weather and get vehicles unstuck and, you know, deal with animals and crops and all that. And then I went to, you know, Iraq and war zones where we would pack not knowing if you’re coming home that night or three days later. And, you know, when I was when I was home from Iraq we’d be we’d be hunting and climbing and doing a lot of things outdoors. And then I I, as the military stuff, wound down a few other projects I was on living in Minneapolis, I took a job in Southern California, working at a tech company and found myself kind of in a white corner office. Feeling pretty unfulfilled you know, after kind of literally putting your life on the line every day to bring smiles to people’s faces and I I knew there had to be more to life, it’d be a bigger purpose. And I was always very interested in the outdoor industry, but I always look for kind of kind of market space, not marketplaces, as a mentor once told me find find the gaps and I was I was struggling with finding that and then one fateful day I was driving to Colorado to go skiing. It snowed two inches in the mountains behind Orange County. And I sat for eight hours in traffic because of two inches of snow which historically My life wouldn’t have even been an issue. While my friends were sending me, you know, powder photos from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and it just put me in this mindset of if two inches of snow can cause this much disruption, you know, what if something serious happens, what if there’s an earthquake or whatever. And so, when I got home from that trip, I eventually did make it missed a few, missed a few good turns. But as I’ve ventually got back and kind of started digging into this idea, you know, around earthquakes and overpopulation and and whatever else, I realized that there was a, what I felt the big opportunity to create a product that was high quality that people could trust that would help them navigate, emergencies big and small. So I kind of went headfirst into that. Push my life savings into it after I felt, you know, I’d done enough research to realize that, okay, I want to do this, I believe in it. I believe in it at this level. And as I as I say a lot of times I burned the ships kind of didn’t look back, and here we are five years later, building Uncharted supply and really working with a mission to make the world a safer place. That’s that’s where we are today.
Scott D Clary 06:11
That’s the story. And so you know, you were not you were not like an entrepreneur, you’re not an entrepreneur, you didn’t try like 25 things and you worked in one company and you felt relatively unfulfilled, but a lot of the stuff you probably learned firsthand as you built it out so well i version.
Christian Schauf 06:32
Back up from there, I you know, I skipped over certain things I helped start Crispin cider, which was acquired by Miller Coors, Joe Heron actually started a company but I, but I know I was employee number one. And you know, we started from day one together and up in his attic, and we built that up. But you know, the military stuff that ended up being a company, my brother and I ran for five or six years, we worked directly with the Pentagon. And that was a little less consumer facing. So it’s kind of a different company, but definitely started a business there. And then we were doing a lot of marketing projects for other brands have done work for Harley Davidson for GoPro for for guys like that. So it had kind of some entrepreneurial experience, I’ve done a lot of things on my own at a young age. I would say Uncharted is kind of the first one where it was really my idea of my money from day one. And really, you know, learning as we go, the leveraging as much experience from
Scott D Clary 07:21
and and how do you how do you understand that? How do you figure out what people need in this market? Like, how do you figure out for survival toolkits, where the gap is? Because there’s, that seems so broad, and that seems like you can find some stuff on Amazon that that serves this purpose, right? I’m assuming that there are some, like pretty generic little kits, you know, hobbyists would go and purchase, but how do you create a company around that? And what do you what’s the differentiator?
Christian Schauf 07:48
Yeah, that’s, that’s a great question. You know, when I came back from that trip, I was like, Okay, I’m gonna buy some stuff, I’m gonna go out and see that was somebody’s going to buy this stuff. And really, I ended up in a military surplus store in the back corner with a dusty backpack that had been sitting there forever, and it was 50 bucks. I bought several of these, I remember one had a had a blow dart gun with three darts in it. And I’m just sitting here going, what is this one squirrels attack? You know, like, we thought this through. I went to REI, you know, they had an emergency kit, it was mostly some first aid and water and just a crappy flashlight. And, and so you know, and then I would talk to people I talked to friends, I talked to mentors. Hey, give her think about this. You know, is there a brand that comes to mind? What would you buy? And I think the response I always got from people was, I’m definitely underprepared. I need something I just don’t even know where to buy it. So, you know, it wasn’t this is Oh, so it’s not like we’re making blue jeans, something it’s been around forever. And we have a new a new take on something where people are like, Yeah, I buy five pairs a year and get into my consideration pool. This was a little bit more like, wow, I can see that people are going to become are going to come more face to face with emergencies, like looking at statistically what was happening in our country. And I’m also seeing that life skills are diminishing, you know, people are living more urban lifespace on technology, they just don’t have those experiences. And you know, I can’t even remember now all the research I did and all the people I talked to and everything else, but I I spent about a year designing a product that I thought would would work well. And when I got to the point where everybody’s willing to buy it from me and it felt complete. I knew that I had to make a decision at that point to go all in or you know, to get back to work doing something else and I decided to go all in, you know, to your point is a lot of generic stuff out there. Yeah, you can go on Amazon type in survival kit. I think if you if you as a consumer honest with yourself, and you look at those things and you go is this going to save my life? I don’t I don’t know if you trust that. You know, I don’t know if you’d really believe some of those $40 $50 kits and ours. You know, we when we started our first kit was $350 That was multiples more than any kit in the market at the time. And people told me I was crazy. But at the same time, I could understand why nobody was buying them at $50 because it looked like garbage. And we use high quality materials, we worked with experts to not only design, you know, an organism organizer that protected everything, but everything’s color coordinated with instructions with high quality stuff. And it was, we call that a survival system instead of a survival kit, because it was really designed to be, you know, pre solving a lot of the emergencies you come face to face with and, you know, I always go back to a brand like YETI Coolers nobody enjoyed buying a cooler 20 years ago. I mean, it was it was a necessity, you may be bought one, they broke a lot. He hated it. And now people wear Yeti baseball caps around town with pride. I mean, it really comes down to if you build a product that’s super quality, it says something about who you are, you can disrupt an industry and that’s that’s what we’re, we’ve been working on ever since.
Scott D Clary 10:56
And how did you first take it to market? So was it direct to consumer? Did you start approaching stores? Was it just what was your What was your strategy?
Christian Schauf 11:06
We did an Indiegogo campaign to start. So you know, I designed this product with a bunch of friends of mine that are that are experts. You know, I remember, I remember the day we turned it on, I thought maybe I’d launched it another month or two. And I was talking to the guy that I started Christmas with Joe, and he’s like, how many have you sold? And I said, Well, we haven’t started yet. And he’s like, if you have no soul, if you have no sales, you have no business. He’s like, go faster. And you know, I had the IndieGoGo page roughly there. So about two days later, I just turned it on. did everything I could have all my friends share it, keep going. And you know, we we set some records on Indiegogo, we sold. I remember it was like a, I think we turn the campaign on. In early November, I had ordered inventory a few months ahead of time. And I told people, Hey, we will, we will ship for the holidays, I thought that’d be a really good, compelling kind of gift for the guy that has everything as they say. And I thought we might sell a couple 100 enough to kind of get this started. And we sold a couple 1000 In a couple of weeks, you know, it just took off. So now I had to get that inventory and build a couple 1000 kits figure it out to ship them. I think originally we sold to like almost 40 countries. I mean, I was living at FedEx filling out these, like international shipping forms, and tax and tariff papers. And I had no idea what I was doing. But somehow we we made it through and it was we were off to the races.
Scott D Clary 12:32
I mean, and okay, so you you, you used Indiegogo to fund it. And then you got 1000 orders. Now this is sort of like the inception of your business. Where do you take it from there? Because I think like you just sort of like a couple of ways you could take it, you could try and go direct to consumer, you could try and get investment, you can try and scale it up that way. You can just use the revenue to grow it, you can go to a store. So what’s next for and I find it interesting because again, like it’s still like, it’s still like blue ocean like it set like you said, it’s not like another pair of jeans that you’re taking out. So I feel like this is the like, like the steps you took are are a lot different than somebody that’s just taking like another direct consumer CPG brand to market. It’s very it’s a little bit novel, like the way that you first kicked it off. I’ve never had somebody on here that started a brand on Indiegogo yet. It’s like you’re the first. Oh, really? Yeah, for real? Yeah.
Christian Schauf 13:24
Never know. It’s probably some naivety there, you know, again, I actually ordered the inventory before I turned on the Indiegogo, so I didn’t I didn’t fund it with Indiegogo, I use my life savings. And I ordered Zara Yeah, that’s
Scott D Clary 13:35
right that father. Yeah, yeah, yeah,
Christian Schauf 13:37
I heard it enough for 1000 units thinking we sell a third of that was right. And we ended up selling like a couple 1000. So immediately, I’m at a deficit. I had enough for 1000 units. I promised people by Christmas. And then it’s like, well, now I’ve got double what I ordered. And how do I catch up? So you know, we just, we sold as much as we could to that platform. I think it was a thing where you can kind of extend and make it like I think they call in demand we can keep so use that as kind of our platform when we got our website set up and the shopping and started running some little ads. Shark Tank came calling we got on Shark Tank. They called you. Yeah, we reached out I guess I shouldn’t I shouldn’t say that. I I’m trying to remember now I think we submitted we sent him
Scott D Clary 14:24
to call you I didn’t mean I thought that
Christian Schauf 14:27
I guess I guess when I say they come calling, it’s like you kind of apply for a lot of stuff when you’re starting and then you get a response. Right and
Scott D Clary 14:35
putting your name everywhere, right. Yeah, right.
Christian Schauf 14:37
Yeah. I mean, that’s one of my favorite quotes is is how do you find a needle in a haystack? You put more needles in the haystack, you know, you just kind of kind of go hard. So no, we you know, we kind of apply they called. We went through that process we get on the show. We’re on episode one of season nine and you know that that really took off for us. We had some investors that were interested ended up
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Christian Schauf 16:04
reaching a deal with a private equity group. And you know, it’s just kind of been iterative steps from the beginning to now just we just you just kind of have to keep solving problems until you reach some stability and then get there.
Scott D Clary 16:18
And when when do you get there though? That’s the I don’t think you ever I’m not sure I mean, I actually never stopped.
Christian Schauf 16:28
Actually the podcast earlier today. And a guy asked probably what was the question? He’s, he’s like, have you? You know, when did you get there? When was the last time you were like, Okay, I know we’re gonna make it or it was it was some question along likeable were like, like, are you gonna die? And I’m like, I’m like, I have those feelings. You know, once a month, you know, literally, I think anybody that tells you otherwise is either lying or got extremely lucky. I think entrepreneurship is hard. And you always see those, you know, you think it’s gonna be this, this line up into the right and it’s actually super squiggly with loops and everything else. And I think that’s very much day to day here. You just need to stay alive and other day you keep solving problems and, and every every inch you gain is like, a little bit makes a little bit tougher to kill you. And I think, you know, that’s that’s the game you have to get comfortable with that and not not feel the burnout of not being there. Because to your point. You’re exactly right. I don’t know if you’re ever there. That’s yeah, that’s that’s fun. That’s scary.
Scott D Clary 17:28
Yeah. Well, I think that’s I think that’s I think that’s but like, like I was looking at your bio, and like you are not, you are not new to putting yourself in like precarious situations that most people do not put themselves. So I’m curious. Also, you think that some of the things that you’ve done like, if I read you, you, you grossly undersell yourself, by the way? So you’ve gone to Iraq, like you said 30, some upwards of 40 times you spent your 30th birthday in sedans bedroom? Yes, you record it at the venue. It’s quite the venue. Yeah, this is a pretty, that’s quite the venue, you recorded with friends, you scuba dived with Richard Branson, you’ve trained some of the best athletes in the world. So like you are, like you’ve done mountain climbing Iron Man’s, like, you’re an extreme like person as an individual, like you have an extreme personality, like most people do not do these things. So do you think that helped the navigate? Or does it not translate at all?
Christian Schauf 18:26
Yeah, I mean, first of all, I think I think my problem is I have a massive case of FOMO. You know, I always want to be with the action. I know, I’m big on quotes, but like, you know, life is not a dress rehearsal every day, every day that goes by as a day you don’t get back and I just why would you do anything less than everything you can? I mean, I really, I really believe that. So, you know, a lot of times these crazy situations happen because you’re making those decisions day after day. And before you know it, you’re quite a ways down a path you never thought you could get to, you know, does that how does that apply to entrepreneurship? Gosh, I mean, if I can relate it back to emergency situations, you know, a guy that’s that’s putting himself out there and maybe camping and climbing and having injuries and figuring out how to get warm. Men when when when they get stuck in a ditch in the snow, they’re going to be a lot more calm because they’ve been there before and they know what they’re doing, versus somebody that’s never stepped outside and suddenly finds himself in a very foreign environment. So yes, I’d say well, the weather not completely, you know, the same like recording music versus starting a business. I think when you learn to navigate stressful situations and you learn to problem solve, and you learn to be okay, like being under pressure in stressful situations. It becomes more calm to you than if you’ve never done it before. And that definitely applies to entrepreneurship.
Scott D Clary 19:52
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Christian Schauf 20:56
Um, gosh. I don’t know. I mean, there’s there’s a lot of tense moments. You know, I think what I think back to you right now is a couple of Christmases ago, q4 is always a big, big time, right? We are having we were two and a half years old, I think we were kind of growing fast. But at the same time hadn’t raised enough money. hadn’t completed any funding, where we were able to kind of have the resources we need that comes from not only, you know, product, but also employees and systems and everything else. And, you know, a couple of Christmases ago, I remember, you know, like a survival kit has 40 pieces in it. And like we didn’t have enough shovels, we didn’t have enough flashlights. And we were, we were buying double A batteries from Walmart’s in the surrounding area. And like I had two employees that for different reasons, left the company, you know, October November time period. And we had tons and tons of orders. And I mean, this sounds This is embarrassing. I flew my mom in. And I spent like, wow, day and night here, like a kid who works for us hear her her dad came in, it was just like, whatever we could do to build these kits and get them out the door, I still have pictures of our little office here, which I mean, now our warehouse is in a different state. And it’s humongous. And we had all the inventory and COVID boxes to the ceiling, like I couldn’t even get to my desk, and trying to remember where everything was and build fast and get orders out. People want their stuff for Christmas. You know, it was I remember my fingers just hurting. And I lost like 10 pounds in about three weeks. Because the distress and the building and everything else was I didn’t know if you’re going to make it. You know, I really didn’t want to send some kids out without shovels and then follow up with shovels. And of course, they weren’t the right shells, and then they to buy extra boxes and pay extra shipping and overnight them and we’re you know, hardly making a profit on those orders. And it just, it’s just survival. So that’s, that’s one moment that really sticks out his length and fame is like yeah, I remember it was like the day after Christmas. And I was back in here, building kits. And it just wasn’t an option. You know, somebody had to do it, it had to get done. I promise people something and I was gonna deliver. So that’s when you really decide if you want to do it or not, or if you’re gonna vote, but that’s the one comes to mind.
Scott D Clary 23:20
And how did you so obviously, like massive learning experience? You’ve somewhat I’m sure you’ve sort of future proof yourself against that ever happening again. So what are some of the processes? or what have you done? To fix that? What was the thing that you did? You know, q1 q2 of the next year? Yeah, you
Christian Schauf 23:41
know, some of its learning and some of it is like we knew we had to we just didn’t have the money to do it. You know, like, like having somebody that was in charge of supply chain and having a warehouse or a group of people that could build kits at a consistent, you know, consistent quality level and not miss something. And, gosh, if we’re moving fast, how do we make sure we didn’t forget, you know, we figured out to have a scale and we needed a survival kit. Wait exactly this. And if it was off by this much weight, we knew which product was missing, you know, so instead of getting all these, hey, there’s 20 of them here where people didn’t get sunscreen, we would catch that. I mean, it’s just, it’s just learning and and then you know, getting the resources to be able to allocate towards people that help I mean, there’s things that go on in this office on a day to day basis that I’m not even a part of and I am thankful for that because we’ve all got different things we’re good at and different things we’re managing and I really try to be the dumbest person in the room you know, I want I want really smart people thinking about this and and that’s the goal today.
Scott D Clary 24:45
And okay, so let’s let’s let’s chat about that. That’s another learning there. So for staffing up, how do you source talent? How do you find people you want to work with how do you look or what do you look for?
Christian Schauf 24:56
You know, historically, I haven’t been great at this. I’ve I’ve had concerns some failures, I think, you know, it’s hard and you meet somebody, and you look at the resume, and they tell you something, and you have to take them at face value. And I think at the end of the day, what I’ve tried to do here is have a blend of young, smart, ambitious and experienced, you know, steady hands. So we have a nice blend of, of different age groups here, we’ve got, we’ve got people that have seen it before, and that can can guide and we have people that are, are learning and eager and grinding. And I think there’s kind of a blend that has to happen. I mean, when it comes to hiring, you know, I’ve made some great hires that made some terrible hires. And I think you just have to continue to check your work on that and make sure you’ve got the right people. And man, if it’s if it’s not working, you know, I’m never one to cut the head off right away, but you have to try to fix it. And if it’s not going to fix you have to move on quickly. I think that’s something that I’m continually learning because I’m a bit of a pansy. When it comes to having those hard conversations with somebody that hey, this isn’t working. We’re going a different direction. Yeah, it is tough.
Scott D Clary 26:06
Yeah. No, it’s one of the it’s one of the most difficult things you can do. But I mean, it’s, it’s one of the things that you have to figure out how to do, because no one’s gonna buy it. You know, no one’s gonna bet 100 Every time they hire, that job will make or break your business. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So obviously, some ups and downs. Now, you mentioned that you’re always learning as an entrepreneur, and you’re always trying to, you know, sort of upskill yourself. So what is what is your process for upskilling? yourself, like outside of like dealing with the actual situations that you’re living through every single day? Do you have things that you do? Do you have resources that you go to you mentioned a mentor as well? How does that person play into your life? How did you find that person? Where did you find them? What’s your sort of your your personal development device?
Christian Schauf 26:54
Yeah, I think I think it’s a little bit of a blend. I mean, when you say that, I think you’re talking from a business standpoint, you know, but part a big part of my job is also brand building and product development. So there’s a lot of times I’m, I’m seeing what other brands are doing, I mean, maybe brands that don’t exactly fit, but I’ll watch the product launch for Harley Davidson as an example, you know, like, how are they how are they presenting themselves? How are they thinking about their consumer? I’ll also spend a lot of time just out in in nature, putting myself in tough situations and seeing man what what am I missing here? You know, like,
Scott D Clary 27:30
that’s your own product, still, you’re you’re going out in your and you’re trying to figure out what you would need and like, whatever circumstances mean,
Christian Schauf 27:36
absolutely.Last fall, I was I was in the Brooks Range in the Arctic Circle for two weeks, you know, with with one other guy, but just what’s on our back, you know, we were charged by Grizzlies and living in tents, and it was 15 below. And those are, those are things you learned that you can’t learn in a lab. A friend of mine, once you know, I always say, Hey, you mess with the bull, you get the horns and my friends, like you really mess with the bull a lot. But like, that’s my job, you know, I need to go out and see what works and what doesn’t. And, and, you know, we just had a new hip pack that launched and I sent it to World Champion mountain bikers and Navy SEAL guys and Ironman champions, and across the board men and women, I’m like, tell me what doesn’t work, I don’t want you to tell me, it’s great. Because we can’t get better. If you tell me it’s great. So from a product side, for brand side, I’m always challenging everything and testing, you know, from from a company side, I’m lucky to have some people in the house here that that have a lot of experience that our brains are very different. So we can have a lot of conversation around solving problems. We’ve got a really great board of directors with guys who are very successful. I’ve got guys that consult with a company and in different positions, you know, guys like Todd Ballard, who’s the CMO at GoPro, you know, like he’s, he’s a consultant for us and a good friend. And you get guys like that in here and and they’ve seen it, they’ve been through it, and they can they can kind of help you avoid the pitfalls. So I’m always looking for better answers. I’m always looking for what I can do better. And you know, that’s, again, I feel like that’s my job is to challenge what I know and to continue to improve and thus the brand will improve.
Scott D Clary 29:10
And what has been as you as you scale this out now now your direct to consumer, obviously, you’re in stores as well. In terms of like your sales and your and your growth and your marketing strategy. What is what has worked well for you? What hasn’t?
Christian Schauf 29:28
You know, I think everything works well. And everything has just different times in different periods. Like the first thing that comes to mind.
Scott D Clary 29:36
That’s a smart lesson, though, that says, that’s a really smart lesson.
Christian Schauf 29:41
I don’t think anything is constant. You know what the next the next meeting I have right now is with our ad buying team and anybody that’s in the DTC channels knows about Facebook’s attribution changes and the iOS updates and you know it’s it’s creating chaos I mean, we can’t target as well as we used to our numbers don’t look as good as they used to. So, you know, how do we think about tick tock and YouTube and other channels that historically we we haven’t advertised in, you know, at scale, we’ve been building products that are lower price points, because their audiences and other social networks that are younger, and they’re probably not going to spend as much on a survival kit, but they might buy our new hip pack, right? So down to the, you know, how we think about a product and where it fits in an audience. And where we can advertise. Like, we’re always considering all that stuff and continually testing, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t say we’ve got anything figured out. I mean, I think some days are great. And some days, it’s like, what just happened yesterday was awesome. And everything’s the same. And I think you just have to keep problem solving. You know, opening up stores has been great. If there’s a hurricane hitting Miami in 24 hours, you’re not going to order a kit that’s going to show up in three days, you want it now, knowing that we have products in a in a Bass Pro Shops, you know, an hour away, somebody can go get it, that’s great, that’s great for a consumer, people can touch and feel it and get a handle on it. So, you know, we’re constantly testing and challenging. You know, on the retail side, we, we got in and we had our bags hanging on a hanger with a the big hang tag, and they just they weren’t moving. And so we built this big shiny box with tons of education on it. And that really made a change, you know? So it’s again, it’s just, it’s just figuring things out, if you think it’s going to work, and it doesn’t okay, what’s, what’s the problem? Why isn’t it working? And let’s try some things. You just keep chipping away.
Scott D Clary 31:36
I’m just curious. And this is not even a business question. I’m more just curious, because I know you’re very passionate about it. So because we asked a lot of business stuff, and there’s some great learnings from there. So I actually want to suddenly switch gears a little bit. The actual core product like the the survival, the concept of like, I guess, like a 72 hour survival kit. Let’s talk about like survival and how unprepared people are and how they should be better prepared, like the things that maybe people aren’t considering. If they’re listening to this, like the average person. I’m sure there’s some people that are very much over the past two years, hyper vigilant about their own protection. And if shit hits the fan, what happens? But what is this? What is this trying to achieve? What are the realities? What are the things that you’re trying to solve for in somebody’s life that they may have not thought of before?
Christian Schauf 32:27
You know, so our mission really is to make the world a safer place. My belief is that every human on earth is going to face at least one emergency in their lifetime, where they’re going to need more than probably what they just have day to day. I don’t think that’s anything anybody would disagree with, right? I mean, and we’re seeing it more and more, whether it’s COVID, or the Canadian truckers or the Ukraine or whatever. I mean, I really think that that emergency situations are drastically rising, I don’t even think that I can statistically see it. At the same time. I believe that life skills are diminishing, we have lived a very comfortable existence for generations, we can depend on first responders, we can depend on technology, and 99 point 99% of time, things work out. But things are are changing. And you know, our first product, we call it the 72. Statistically, like 95% of survival situations are resolved within 72 hours, meaning from September 11, to going into Detroit, your car, Calvary shows up in 72 hours. But gosh, if it’s 15 below zero, or if it’s 110 degrees, you have no food or water or whatever, you could die in 72 hours. So my whole thesis was can we create an affordable, lightweight, small thing that anybody hopefully could afford, that would change those 72 hours and make themselves sufficient to get through anything. And that’s that’s where we started. And I still think that’s a very powerful proposition. You know, we now build products for everything, we have a little 130 gram, first aid and gear repair kits designed for mountain biking and running because so many of those people, they don’t want to carry a heavy first aid kit. They want to go ride their mountain bike and feel lightweight and free. But man, those are the same people that are going fast and crashing and having a big gash or whatever. And so how do you create products that they have on them that that can change the situation in that in that moment of need. You know, my dog almost died last year skiing had a skier his leg and he was hemorrhaging blood and I had one of those little kits and saved his life. And now we’re building a pet collar with a first aid kit built into it. You know, it’s just it’s just those use cases. And the thing is, is people go you know, I do this every day and nothing happens. I’m fine. Well, my dog and I ski every day there’s snow on the ground, and it didn’t happen for 1000 days and then one day he almost died. And that’s kind of the nature of being alive right like you just know Never know when when that day is going to come and if you’re going to be prepared or not. So, you know, I really believe that, you know, I used to live in, when I started this company, I lived in Venice in California. And gosh, you think about something happening and how long it would take the emergency response team to take care of everybody in that area. That’s a highly congested area with a few major major fairways in and out next to an ocean. I mean, if I was there with my family, I would want to be sure that I could take care of them for an extended amount of time. And then hopefully, if I can take care of my family, I can take care of my neighbor, and then maybe that person can help somebody else. There’s no way like a couple 1,001st responders are going to save a couple million people in a really tough situation. But if we can all start taking care of ourselves and become from a place of abundance, and be able to help help our neighbors. Now we’re talking about large scale change that can really make a difference in society, and maybe even bring people together a little more than be a little less fearful. So you get big picture. That’s kind of where my head’s at. I was like, How can we create products that make people feel empowered, we always joke it’s like the superheroes keep in the back of your car, right? Like, you want to be the friend that’s like, I got this guy’s I’m gonna save the day. And that’s, that’s really cool, like be the hero. So that’s kind of kind of how we
Scott D Clary 36:12
think about this. And how do you solve for the fact that you made a good point, like life skills are diminishing? So now you have the tools? How do you solve for the fact that people have no idea what the hell to do with the tools? Sure, is there like an education piece too?
Christian Schauf 36:25
Yeah. So I mean, listen, I would love for people to get out and create experiences and to test themselves and to take classes. The reality is, that’s just not going to happen at scale. I mean, people just aren’t interested in are some people. That’s why with our kids, I mean, if you open up one of our 70, twos, there’s a bunch of pockets inside, everything’s organized. The first aid pocket is bright red, let’s say you need first aid, if you quickly eliminate 80% of the rest of that kit, open up the red pocket. And, and then there’s, there’s instructions in red right next to it that tells you broken bone, beasting, concussion shock, you know, all these different things. Step 12345. You open up that red thing, you read the instructions, you just take the recipe at that point. And even if you’re freaking out, if you can follow instructions, you can start making a bad situation better. But when you do that adrenaline goes down, you think clearer, and you’re gonna make better decisions as a whole. So that is a challenge, right? Like, I always say, we need our products to work for somebody that’s never been outside before. So if somebody goes outside for the first time and an emergency hits, and we throw them one of our products, they’ve got to be able to open that up and make it work in a way that’s going to change their situation. And so that’s always the goal of what we’re doing.
Scott D Clary 37:33
And I guess the last question on this particular topic, or this theme, like what have you? What have you changed your opinion on over the last two years?
Christian Schauf 37:50
I, you know, I don’t know if I’ve changed my opinion. I’ve just I’ve just learned how people interpret what we are doing. You know, I think I think prepping is a stigma in a lot of ways people think of these guys with a bunker that think aliens are going to attack wear tinfoil hats. You know, that’s, that’s definitely not we’re doing. We’re just saying, Hey, if you’re driving to the mountains, this weekend with your buddies, because there’s a snowstorm that snowstorm ends up, you know, taking a different path, and now you’re stuck. Are you prepared for that? So for me, it’s like, it’s very obvious, because I’m in a living space, but communicating that educating people on that, convincing them, I would say it’s, it’s been more of a challenge to convince people than I thought, on on purchasing, and, um, being prepared. To me, it seems, maybe it’s the life I lead, but it’s, it seems like second nature to be like, my trucks full of stuff, I’m ready to go. You know, one of the challenges we see a lot of times is, our products are super high quality. We’re working on a repeat customer data right now and just getting people to come back and buy more because they did buy one of these kits. It’s got everything you need, it works, it works for a long time. That’s great, like as a product and for the consumer, but for a business that has a certain cost associated with acquiring customers. How do you get them to come back and buy something else? So we start thinking about what are the other products that that maybe weren’t part of this, but that can help solve over here. And I think that’s what we’ve been thinking about more and more as, like I said, that lightweight kit for mountain biking and running and we just launched a hip pack. It’s really cool because people kept going well, should I carry my survival kit hiking through Yellowstone? It’s like no, that’s not we designed it for but interesting. If everybody’s asking that question, like what is the right thing and let’s build that. So you know, I don’t I don’t know if we got anything wrong. I think we’re just evolving and growing and trying to understand our consumer better and kind of what they perceive and kind of translate.
Scott D Clary 39:51
Very smart. Okay. I want to do a couple rapid fire to close up but before I pivot, any any final Any final thoughts or Just comments like, where do you where do you want this company to go? If you know at the at the end of the day, what do you want people to say about the company about what you’ve achieved?
Christian Schauf 40:08
Yeah, you know, my favorite companies become verbs, right? And I don’t know if you can Uncharted something, but I would love to be the I would love to be the the brand that almost, you know, becomes the product, because it’s just the trusted, high quality thing that everybody knows. I mean, my goal, like I said, I, when I started, this is like, I wanted to leave a legacy. I want to make the world a safer place, I wanted to figure out a way that get you know, I grew up in Wisconsin, right? If there was a snowstorm, or hurt or a hurricane, a snow storm or tornado, you know, we’d go help our neighbors, we take chainsaws, and we take plows and and when I live in California, people would lock their doors, it was every man for themselves. Well, the only way through anything is unity and working together. And I don’t have to tell people that we’re getting more and more divisive all the time. And if if we can come from a place where like, we can be the hero and we can save our families day or save our friends day. And we can we can look out for our neighbors. I mean, that’s that’s where I really want to go with this. I would I that’d be an amazing legacy to, you know, have created a family of products or even inspired an industry which we’ve we’ve done, there’s a lot of copycats out there of products that are now getting into people’s hands and saving lives. So that’s the goal. I mean, it’s audacious. Sure, but I think you have to be and we’re still small, but I’ve got a handle. We’re gonna get there. Yeah, yeah, for sure.
Scott D Clary 41:32
For sure. Good. Very good. And then, most importantly, where are people? Where people going to connect with you? What’s the website social for company for you? If they want to reach out?
Christian Schauf 41:43
Yeah, I’m trying to supply co.com Instagram is at Uncharted supply co mines at Christian shaft. I mean, man, we spend a lot on advertising online, you should build type in the 72 Uncharted, my name, it better show up. But we’re not doing a very good job. So it shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t be too hard. I hope you type in best survival kit and it comes up. I mean, it should so
Scott D Clary 42:06
got the keywords down to you that you’re that you didn’t want to optimize.
Christian Schauf 42:10
Those are just reviews, man. I’m not buying those are.
Scott D Clary 42:15
Good. All right. A couple rapid fire, just like insights from your life. So biggest challenge, personal or professional? What was that challenge? How did you overcome it?
Christian Schauf 42:25
Oh, gosh. I don’t know, man. There’s so many big challenges all the time, I think. Yeah.
Scott D Clary 42:31
I mean, you’re likely to have an exceptional amount of challenge. Yeah, the big one,
Christian Schauf 42:35
I would challenge the dividual I think I think you should be challenging yourself. Every day I I’m trying to think of of one. One moment that stands out, this isn’t even a challenge. But it was maybe a personal challenge was the day I wrote a check for most of my life savings to start this company. I mean, I think a lot of people like to sit around and talk about it. And they’d like to maybe, you know, have a business plan. And maybe they start building a website. But it’s extremely challenging to actually, you know, as I say, burn the ships and actually go all in and be like, I’m gonna do this sink or swim. And you have to really be bold, and you have to really be convicted, convicted in what you’re doing. And, you know, I remember that day, I remember how stressful that was, because I had done really well. And I, I had built a really nice nest egg at a young age. And that was a lot of nice cushion that I was just kind of pushing in pushing in all the chips. So, you know, that’s the first thing that comes to mind. I don’t know if that’s a great answer. But I do think
Scott D Clary 43:37
there’s a lot of people right to stand and that is a good answer.
Christian Schauf 43:40
I appreciate it. You know, I just there’s a lot of people I meet that say they’re entrepreneurs. And you know, they don’t, they don’t have a sale yet. And they haven’t they haven’t really fully committed. And I think that’s probably a big challenge for a lot of people is taking that final step and saying, This is who I am, and this is what I’m doing.
Scott D Clary 43:57
I appreciate that. I think that’s smart. And it’s good advice. Obviously, there’s been many people who have had an incredible impact on your life. But if you had to pick one who was that person and what did they teach you?
Christian Schauf 44:07
Oh, gosh, so many. You know, I would just have to say my parents. We live in this big dairy farm used to have my parents call them trainees I would call them interns for anybody listening but guys would come from Japan or Germany or England to come to live and learn from my parents and staff from anywhere from like three months to a couple of years. These were my big brothers working on the farm and learning from my dad and I remember this guy Nick Chandler from from England told me once he said, you know, your dad is the hardest working person I know except for your mom. And, you know, I think they just they are grinders. And they were smart grinders. You know, they were really thoughtful about you know, growing up on a dairy farm he wouldn’t think about marketing and that kind of stuff. And they were always creating print ads and and building a website and and they were dill in the barn at 415 in the morning, you know, washing pails on our cows. You know, in case people came over to look, I mean, it just it was a combination of hard work and, and smart work. And gosh, that’s just something sticks with you I, if I sleep past, you know, 530 in the morning to this day, I had this little bit of guilt when I wake up that hopefully dad didn’t see me sleeping in, you know, it’s just there’s that drive that’s been built into me since I was like I remember.
Scott D Clary 45:29
If you had to pick a book or podcast, or some resource that has had a huge impact on your life, what was that resource? And what did you learn from it?
Christian Schauf 45:40
You know, this may sound silly on the surface, but I’m gonna say Shark Tank. And and here’s why I’ve watched hundreds of episodes of Shark Tank. And when I was building my business Shark Tank was on in the background. And while it’s a very watered down, you know, entrepreneurial TV show, if you don’t have an answer for the questions, those guys are asking with your company, you better figure it out. And I don’t know if I necessarily learned a ton from it. But having those questions going on in the background. For that year that I was building, the company really helped me solidify what I was doing what was important, if I was if I had a blind spot, because I didn’t really want to pay attention to it. You know, I just always envisioned that we would be on that show. And I would have an amazing answer for anything that threw my way. I mean, it was it was like a test I was studying for and I you know, there’s a lot of books I’ve read that have taught me little parts. And I love the book, Shoe Dog, the Phil Knight story that you know, he started Nike, I love those stories of just hardship and grinding and figuring it out. And those things taught me a lot. But man, when I was really getting ready to do this, that was it was like a really good little quiz every day that I took that really helped inform how I thought about this. So I’ll throw that one out there for this done.
Scott D Clary 46:58
Amazing. If you could tell your 20 year old self one thing, what would it be?
Christian Schauf 47:04
Wow. You know, I struggle with this because I have friends that started businesses a lot, a lot younger, and they’re they’re further ahead now than I am. And I sometimes go, Gosh, I wish I would have started this 10 years sooner, but at the same time, I never could have done it the same way without the experiences. You know, I was I was pretty darn motivated at 20 I was always into something. I think, you know, I think seeking out mentors at an earlier age would probably be the thing that I would tell my 20 year old self because I think at 20 we all we all think we know more than we do. Right? And I was working hard. And I definitely thought I had more answers than I did at that point. And I think if I would have, you know, maybe found some more lifelong mentors to help guide my thinking and helped me maybe with the opportunities I had then make them even bigger, um, who knows what would have happened. But, you know, I would say, don’t be the smartest person in the room, find mentors, ask a lot of questions, stay really curious. And use that information. I think that’s really powerful. And it’s something that comes with, with experience and being humbled. But it’s not something you know, when you’re in your teens or 20s.
Scott D Clary 48:19
And then last question, what does success mean to you?
Christian Schauf 48:23
Oh, man. You know, the, I think success is is? Well, it’s obviously achieving goals. It’s it’s, it’s not just about money, right? It’s, it’s about a legacy, it’s about, you know, my goal would be to be the guy that when you walk out of a room, people are saying positive things about you as you left. And you know, you may not be the richest guy in the room, but man, that guy did something really hard or really compelling or, like I really made a difference. You know, I look at my grandpa who passed away this year, and he kind of died with nothing, but he gave all his money away. And he you know, at the funeral people would come up to me that I didn’t even know that would tell me stories of his kindness and how he would go out of the way you know, this guy came back from war and was missing his dog and you know, in the canine unit, and he said by the time he got home, he had had a phone call on his answering machine from my grandpa’s friend who bred German Shepherds with a dog for him. You know, I mean, just just being a human that can affect lives and and make a difference in people’s lives I think would be above the highest level of success you could achieve in my opinion.