A founder is someone who has a vision and does everything to fulfill it. To honor such founders, Designhill presents the series ‘Founder X’ in which we are talking about the inspirational stories of founders, their journeys, and business struggles. The motive is to celebrate the struggles and accomplishments of successful founders to inspire millions of aspiring entrepreneurs worldwide. With this post, we would like to share the inspirational story of co-founder and chairman of SUBTA – Christopher George. Have a look!
Talking about Christopher, he is the co-founder and chairman of SUBTA, which is a subscription trade association. Currently, he’s working on building the largest community and the direct to consumer subscription space.
He started his first business at the age of 21 which was a completely different industry. He was in the collection industry where he didn’t realize that he wanted to be in e-commerce. His father owns liquor stores and his model was to let buy something cheaper and sell more. With his ideology, Christopher started his subscription business and the rest is the history.
When Designhill Asked Him About His Entrepreneurial Journey, He Shared
“I won’t lie, it was amazing. I loved every bit of it. I started my first business when I was 21. I saw the pivot towards more purchases being handled online versus in stores. My family comes from a liquor store industry and realized that my father was limited to three miles of customers only. But for me, this was real-time challenge. It was like, how could I take things, buy them for cheaper and then sell them for more and do it online because I wanted my audience much bigger. I didn’t want to limit to two miles around my location. Therefore, I started to build like a mini sort of hustle online business. That’s when a friend of mine approached me about starting the Gentleman’s box. Initially, in 2014, subscription boxes just started to get popular. Birchbox was very successful than FabFitFun, and BarkBox. Nobody was targeting men. So, me and John; one of the co-founders of gentleman’s box, decided to launch the Gentleman’s box and we wanted to build the largest men’s subscription box. We wanted to provide men with accessories, sock ties, dress socks, tie clips, and some great fashion items delivered to their door monthly. We were able to do that and we had some early success. Eventually, this is how SUBTA was born. For me, it’s building a big business and having an impact on thousands, upon millions of lives is what gets me excited. With SUBTA we can do that! If an entrepreneur or business owner can come to my event, learn something that helps them adjust their business, that can in effect have a big impact on all their subscribers and a big impact on lives or their employees.”
Watch His Full Interview – The Founder X Series by Designhill
Also, we have had a chance to do a 1-on-1 convo with him and ask regarding his entrepreneurial journey and struggles during the pandemic scenario.
Here Are A Few Bytes
Designhill: What challenges are you facing currently and how are you fighting back?
Christopher George: For us, the biggest challenge we’re facing is for our event – Sub Summit, which is the largest direct to consumer subscription event. That’s been impacted in the sense that we have to move it. It was set initially, this would have been our fifth conference. The conference has grown tremendously in just four years from a 200 person event to over 1000 people in 2019. We moved the conference to November, in hopes that things can get better and we can still host the event there. What we’ve had to do is pivot the model a little bit.
We’re hosting a virtual conference in July, as well as a virtual conference in September. All of that to continue to build the community, continue to network, and help these entrepreneurs in the subscription space grow. That’s one of our core values and it’s why we built this business because we want to help entrepreneurs build their business and be a resource for them.
Designhill: What advice do you have for business owners to overcome this terrible phase?
Christopher George: There are so many different industries, so many different businesses and there are so many different things that you may have to do to pivot. I read a saying, it’s funny, I think it applies so well and it was “It’s not about weathering the storm, but more about learning to dance in the rain”. It makes a lot of sense to me.
As a business owner, you need to be able to pivot and when things like these happen, you can’t shut down. You have to continue to move forward. This is not going to be the first time, something like this will happen again. So, we need to learn as much as we can. If you’re in retail, you should be thinking online. If you’re in retail and online, you should be thinking about how to build a subscription.
Direct consumers are going to make more purchases online more than ever, especially now starting with this pandemic. So it’s how can we build an experience for the consumer by delivering a product to their doorstep and giving them an experience that they couldn’t get if they were to walk into a retail store?
If you’re a restaurant, you’ve got to be thinking about delivery and if you’re in the movie business, maybe you’ve got to be thinking about opening an outdoor theater, I don’t know. I think that with every business there’s something that can be done.
Pro Tip by Christopher George
The landscape is going to change!
Christopher George: “There are minor setbacks and entrepreneurs can move through them. You need to continue to think that you can do that and you need to just push forward to it. This will not be the last time something like this happens and as an entrepreneur, you just have to be able to; like I said “dance in the rain” and make adjustments for your business.”
It felt amazing interacting with Christopher George and learning about his experiences, challenges and ideal ways to overcome the hurdles. Thanks a lot, Christopher, for giving us your precious and valuable time. We feel delighted to share your untold story with our community and with the abundance of success to you and SUBTA.