Global entrepreneur Claudia Harvey talks about the difficult decision to leave the corporate world to pursue her dream and how an appearance on CBC’s Dragon’s Den changed her life.Support the show
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Peter Reynolds 00:04
Hi, I'm Peter Reynolds and welcome to Pros and Conversations. The podcast that explores what it takes to be successful, whether you're from the world of business science or the arts. Putting on his pith helmet and joining me today for this exploration is Damon Adachi. And he is a marketing consultant with Seven Fold Marketing. How're you doing Damon?
Claudia Harvey 00:25
Great! Excited about today. Glad to be here.
Peter Reynolds 00:28
Yeah, I think today is going to be a fun episode. Because, talking about becoming an entrepreneur as sort of a next chapter of your life. And I think that's very different then someone who might be sort of right out of college wanting to start a business.
Claudia Harvey 00:46
Yeah, it's funny, I think we sort of fall into it, because you get your experience out in the working world and figure out what you'd like to do what you're passionate about. And it's hard to find a job that ticks all the boxes. So you end up trying to create your own path for for your passion. So it's not usually something that people aspire to do right out of school, I don't think, but it certainly is something that becomes part of your mantra as you move down the road for sure.
Peter Reynolds 01:14
100% 100% and someone who's definitely charted her own path, is a very special guest for this episode. It's Claudia Harvey, who is a global entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist, and a highly sought after keynote speaker, as well as CEO founding two companies Diggit Apparel, and BG wealth group. Claudia, welcome to Pros and Conversations.
Claudia Harvey 01:40
Thank you so much, Peter, nice to meet you. Nice to meet you, Damon. Pleasure to be here.
Peter Reynolds 01:46
So, as Damon and I were talking about. I think, often when we think of, of entrepreneurs, or those entrepreneurs in the news, they're the ones they're sort of they're right out of college, or they're college dropouts. They throw caution to the wind, max out their credit cards and start their business in their garage, and then they're a billionaire. But there's a lot of entrepreneurs out there, they're doing this later in life, they're doing this as a pivot. Would you agree with that?
Claudia Harvey 02:18
Absolutely. 100%. I think the ones that you hear that have come out of school and become millionaires from their garage, I don't think that's the common story. Those are the ones we hear about. Those are the success stories. I'm sure they have absolute unique abilities that catapult them off of school. But I think the majority of business owners, entrepreneurs/ business owners have experience behind them. And they use that experience to reposition their career and try their hand at becoming their own boss. After a few years, I think of experience, which I think is really necessary. Can you take us back
Peter Reynolds 03:00
Can you take us back to the start of your journey and that transition you made from the corporate world to, as I think you've said, starting your business around your kitchen table,
Claudia Harvey 03:10
Right. Yeah, literally was around my kitchen table with my kids running around me. They were ten, six and four. At the time, I had had a very long standing corporate career, I was in sales, marketing operations, understood the finance side of of corporate life as well. So I knew everything, all the different aspects of running a company, just because of the different opportunities and jobs that I had. And I got to a point where I was working just so hard for another corporation that I was incredibly unhappy. I was traveling a lot. And I was away from my kids and very stressed. And I thought I don't want to live this type of life in balance. I had really nice money, it was giving up the concept of a six figure salary. But what really my definition of success and what I wanted to do in life was completely different than when I started out after school. After school after university. I wanted to make money. That was my definition of success at the time. And, fast forward 20 years after that, I realized that that is not my definition of success anymore. My definition of success is being involved with my children, being involved in my family life and still having something for myself. I'm not cut out to be a stay at home mom. Tried it, been there, done it. Did it for about three months, but I think I like organized chaos. And something for myself, as my sister-in-law said to me, so I thought I'd start my business, really from my kitchen table while my kids were in school. And that way I could dabble in something that was still for me. Not lose my own identity create actually a new identity and still be very, very present in my kids lives. And in fact, many people for 18 months didn't realize that I had my own business. I was very, very, very quiet about creating my own business. Everyone thought I was, had left my corporate life to be a stay at home mom, because I dropped the kids off, I picked them up, I went to the soccer practices, I was there as did everything that on the outside, but when I dropped them off, I went back and worked at my literally my kitchen table and started my business Diggit Apparel with my co-founder at the time. So and I was very quiet doing it. And that's something that I think a lot in today's role. I'm going off on a tangent here. But in today's world, this was back in 2009. And social media wasn't prevalent in 2009. It was just in its infancy with Facebook just launched. And I think so many people today talk about, oh, I'm going to start a business. Oh I'm going to do this, I'm going to do that. And they do it for six months and realize, oh, gosh, this is a lot harder than I thought. But they've announced to the world that they become an entrepreneur. So it's something that I started very quietly because I didn't want the naysayers around me while I started my business and launching my business.
Damon Adachi 06:13
Well, I'm insanely jealous of you because you have created a new product for the market that they didn't know they needed, and have found great success with it. And to me, that's super inspiring. And I imagine it's inspiring to a lot of female entrepreneurs as well, because I think the DNA of an entrepreneur requires that creativity, that organization, that drive and I think, I personally feel like that's more natural to women, and that they should be changing the world the way you are. You know, kudos number one. But number two, how do you feel about inspiring other women as an entrepreneur,
Claudia Harvey 06:50
You know what? I love that I can make an impact to anybody's life. When I was started speaking...so we launched diggit in 2009, for sales in 2009, went on Dragon's Den, partnered with Kevin O'Leary. And that started a whole cycle of speaking. In fact, Peter, you and I met way probably back in 2010-11, when I started speaking, and a woman came up to me about two years after I had done the actually the event that you and I were at Peter together, and she came up to me two years later at a different event, and said something you said at that event changed the course of my life. And that's a heavy responsibility. But it's also I'm very glad I changed it for the positive, not for the negative. But it was it really hit home that many people impact people without even realizing it. And I love the fact that I can impact people and can motivate others to step forward into a passion or into a journey that they were afraid to do. And I think that's wonderful. I encourage people to plan that journey, not to step into that journey with impulsivity. Because that's really, that's not what we did with Dig It. Dig It was planned, and I left my corporate career not starting Dig It right out of the gate after leaving my corporate career. But Dig It was planned for a good year before we launched it. So I was a stay at home mom, but I was working at that kitchen table. But I worked at that kitchen table without any revenue for a good year and planning the company, planning the product, getting prototypes, launching the website, figuring out our financials, business plan, marketing plan, all of that. Then we started to announce that we had this company, and then we had this product, and then we bought the inventory. So it was it was a journey. So I love the fact that I can motivate others to get around to your very long winded answer to get around to your question, David, I love that. It's wonderful.
Peter Reynolds 07:34
It's very interesting, because I've heard you say, starting that entrepreneurial journey, it's not a leap of faith, it's a leap of research. And I always love that because, and getting back to this idea of the individual who's looking to maybe start that next chapter of their lives. Like yourself, maybe they've done the corporate thing, and they feel they could do it better or they want to go in a different direction or maybe it's an empty nest syndrome and they run out of excuses. But unlike the person maybe in their 20s just out of college who can throw caution to the wind. We have responsibilities. We have mortgages, we can't just leap into it. It can't be a leap of faith.
Claudia Harvey 09:42
Right. I have heard and seen many people do that leap of faith thinking they have a product or a service mainly a product based business because a product based business you need a lot of money for inventory and they have second mortgage their house for a product that has not been researched properly in the field. And that is just sadly painful to see because they're so house proud of their product and their idea and their invention. But they haven't tested the waters, they've put 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of dollars of their own money into the business, without realizing that you can actually fund the business, not from your own private money, you have to put a little bit private money into it. But there's different ways of financing. There's different ways of doing market research, do that before you throw literally 1000s and hundreds of 1000s of dollars into your business. And I think that many people well again, coming out of school. They don't maybe because they don't have those type of assets, they are nose to the grindstone, and do that type of research prior to going into business, whole hog. And then maybe they pivot and go back into corporate or go into a job. And then they go back into doing their own business after they've got some experience. So everybody has different journeys, everyone has different opportunities. But research is really, really important to do any sort of business that you're about to launch.
Damon Adachi 11:13
So part of our humble mission, Peter and I, is to help the entrepreneur because so many new businesses fail early on in the first couple of years. Yes, the stats are staggering. It's like 80%. And we've sort of contemplated that the one that succeeds is the one who has failed in the past and learned something. So we're trying to impart some of that knowledge ahead of time, like a time machine of information so that they don't have to fail out of the gate. And what you've said reminds me that, yes, it's the measure it is the research, you had the benefit of being able to take a year without income to do that from your previous earnings. And then you got in front of Dragon's Den and got even more funding. So much of it is planning and we see young entrepreneurs, I do new branding for companies that are fresh, and they don't have their ducks lined up, and they don't have the research done and I feel the same pain. But so much of it is managing your financial lifeblood and not investing it into things that aren't going to pan out and not getting in too deep and not running out of cash flow. So I mean, how much have you benefited from tour Dragons Den opportunity and buy in from from Kevin O'Leary.
Claudia Harvey 12:26
So we went on Dragon's Den when it was in its fourth season, and it was like the number one rated show on TV at the time. So when we went on Dragon's Den we taped on Dragon's Den in April, May. And then we only aired in November. And we had to keep quiet, because that was part of the contract, have to stay quiet. You can't announce that you're on Dragon's Den prior to being aired. So when we aired, it was late, late 2009. And again, social media wasn't a thing at the time. But we had 90,000 hits on our website, and we had orders coming out of our ears, which was wonderful. So out of the gate, we benefited from being on Dragon's Den. We did partner with Kevin. It took those many months to do the due diligence and the shareholder agreement with Kevin. And we created the shareholder agreement about a week finished it a week before airing. The shareholder agreement and our arrangement with Kevin is not what we aired on. But that's fine. You know, he eventually owned 10% of our business. We bought him out Dig It bought him out in 2015. So he's actually no longer part of our business. He went down into Shark Tank, amicably separated, he wasn't coming back up to Canada to do any more Dragon's Den because he was off. So we weren't coming back onto Dragon's Den again, which was the major benefit of partnering with Kevin and being on Dragon's Den is the publicity that it garnered us. It allowed us to tell the world that we had a Dragon like this believe in us. So we have a viable product. The airing has been aired numerous numerous numerous times. People still to this day say Hey, I saw you on Dragon's Den. And that's like recent still. So I'm surprised to recognize because it is 10 years later. It was really great. It was a great experience. We had a wonderful relationship with Kevin and he was a tremendous support of our company. It was fun. It was really great. And then when we bought him out in 2015. It's great. You know, he made money off of us, we carried on our merry little way and the company changed in dynamics. My business partner that I had started the company with she was also bought out. And so I took the company in a different direction. And then in 2020, we, Dig It bought a company. So we became the picture became the investor. And we bought a company in 2020 and that company's with a product called Spot My UV and so I took the company in a different direction when I became CEO in 2016. So, it's quite exciting. Quite an exciting ride.
Peter Reynolds 15:01
It's funny, that was a connection that we have Claudia with Spot My UV and a really interesting example Damon of how you can, even during the pandemic, you can still move forward. It's sometimes it's a pivot, sometimes it's a change. And I had spoken with Claudia's people, as it were.
Claudia Harvey 15:24
Peter Reynolds 15:25
Actually my team. Actually my cousin, Alison, who works with you. And they had wanted to do an ad for Spot My UV, but because of lock-down, and because we couldn't go anywhere, the idea of going to a beach, because the product, you can describe the product, Claudia,
Claudia Harvey 15:46
The product is actually created by University of Waterloo graduates, engineers. They're nanotechnology engineers, they came out of school and launched Spot My UV. They're amazing, amazing young men, and they are with our company today. Director of operations and Director of Logistics. And they created a product that tells the person when to reapply their sunscreen. So it's a biopolymer technology, which is called Derma True. It's patented around the world, and there's a little sticker for lack of a better word, and you put the sticker on your body, it's purple when the UV is affecting your skin. So when you're tanning or burning, it's purple, when you put your sunblock over your body and the sticker, it goes clear. So you know that you're protected by your sunblock. As your sunblock leaves your body because of swimming, sweating, just you know, enjoying your outdoor activity, it goes back to purple, and that tells you when you have to reapply. So you're always going to be protected against harmful UV rays. And it's an amazing revolutionary product that we're going to change skincare habits. I know we are. So Peter worked with Alison, Director of Marketing. And I'll let you continue the story now Peter.
Peter Reynolds 17:04
I got a call from Alison, and they wanted to basically create a video that would describe the product and sort of have a step by step of how to use it. But traditionally you'd be going to California or Florida or some sunny location to film this, but we couldn't do that. So we actually filmed it in a studio. It was just Alison and myself and her daughter and we filmed it against the green screen. And we just had sort of lovely Caribbean music in the background. And the crashing of the waves, and you would never know. It was fun for me to do. But I also thought it was interesting that you would think that sort of during the pandemic people would be, they'd be holding tight. Yeah, but this idea of not only are you not holding tight or not staying the course, but you're actually buying a company and pushing forward. I think that's amazing.
Claudia Harvey 18:09
Yeah, sorry Damon, go ahead. Go ahead.
Damon Adachi 18:12
I think it speaks to that part of the serial entrepreneur that cannot sit still.
Claudia Harvey 18:18
Damon Adachi 18:19
And when you're sequestered into being locked down, the wheels keep turning. And we come up with new ideas, we come up with adjustments and pivots to the new marketplace. And it's a completely different landscape now in people's behaviors and attitudes, because of COVID. And that creates a new opportunity. And that's the the fertile ground is refreshed and you come up with new ideas. So I agree that you kind of get locked down, but your mind doesn't stop working in coming up with new concepts of ways that you're going to attack a refreshed market.
Claudia Harvey 18:52
Yeah, it's interesting, I think COVID did two things to people. They either held tight, and they were very fearful, or they looked at the opportunities around, looked at the government support that was allowed to end and continues to be around and use that marketplace for different advantages that you could do. But it's a mindset, like I really want to get across to your listeners, that being an entrepreneur, being a business owner and increasing your business is a mindset. It's not about fear. It's about strategy. It's about understanding your marketplace. It's about understanding your business. And it's about surrounding yourself with people that are amazing and positive around you. And any negative naysayers you kick to the curb. Like when COVID hit we had COVID hit in March and we had all of our Dig It products in store and had not been paid because terms for big box retailers are usually net 60. Which means you don't get paid for 60 days until product goes in store. You have to wait for 60 days to get paid. Our product had been shipped to store, store shut down in March. And we did not know if stores are going to reopen because we are a spring product. So we had no clue if stores are gonna reopen, what the landscape is gonna look like if we're gonna get paid if we're gonna even get paid on time with all this. So that was back in 2020. I've lost track of years. Yeah, and things did reopen. But because we are a spring product in a hardware store, we were at Home Depot and Lowe's. And those stores remained open, thank goodness. So we did get paid. The year after we had quadrupled the orders. Because people shifted to home, they were at home, they wanted to be at home. So they used our products for their home, then that allowed me to purchase the company in 2020. And well part of it, I financed it as well, but it was looking at different opportunities. But I guess what I want to get across is that March was Oh my heavens, it was scary. Like it was scary. It was scary for everybody. Scary health wise, it was scary economically. But I surrounded myself with positive people and my staff, we didn't know what was going to happen. Because again, cash flow, cash is so important, because it keeps the lights on. That is not the same thing is value in a company, cash keeps the lights on. So I said to my team, I will support you, I will go without salary. So I want them to be taken care of as much as I could. And they were like, well, Claudia, we got your back, like we will do anything we can to help you. We have to go on unemployment even for the short term because we have to, will still work because our season is now. So my team was amazing. They continued to work, regardless of what was going to happen. They're like, we're just gonna assume it's gonna be okay. And it was okay. Because my team made it okay, I have a great team, I wonderful team.
Peter Reynolds 22:09
I love that. This idea of surrounding yourself with positive people. I mean, there's a sort of a joke that my wife likes to say is that the best thing I ever did for my business was firing my best friend. And he is a wonderful human being, a great guy, but he is a glass half empty. That is just his nature. And whenever I would make a suggestion, he would look for the reasons why it would fail. And in his mind, he would call himself a realist, he would say I'm just looking out for the business. But it was such a drain. And my wife would see it in me. She said, What about that idea that you had? And it was like a virus. it would infect, and eventually we had to part ways because I needed to surround myself with positive people and smarter people than me which I tell Damon is never never a problem. And because and if you can find that team, my God, it can basically see you out of nearly any situation if you have that team behind you.
Claudia Harvey 23:30
Yes. And the team. I mean, you raised something. Like your ex business partner and friend was a naysayer, but he was probably way too cautious. So you do have to surround yourself with people that will give you valid information and valid criticism, critique, not criticism, critique of your idea, like if you say that, you want to create the newest umbrella that has holes in it, hmm, I think the rain is going to get through, right, so but you thinking, Oh, it's the best thing in the world, but it's got holes, probably not. So you do want to have people that will give you the straight skinny on your idea. And then people will say, Oh my god, that is a great idea. So when we were purchasing Spot My UV, we had already vetted them in the marketplace and CVS and Walmart in the United States had put in PO's, purchase orders for the product. So we knew that there was something to this product already, but the guys needed funding. They were out of the gate. They were young and they needed the business behind them and the structure and the finance to launch it worldwide. And my goal is for Spot My UV that we will be in three continents within three years of purchase and that looks like it's easily going to happen. So it's quite exciting. Pretty exciting.
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Damon Adachi 25:21
So on the topic of surrounding yourself with great people that we try to do that in our networking group. We do peer advisory and support and mentoring. Well, we want to graduate to is to be our own little Dragon's Den so that somebody can come in with a new idea, and we have the experience and connections collaboratively to make those things happen. So that is super exciting for you to be able to transition into being the investor versus the pitch. Do you plan to do more of that? Do you plan to find more opportunities down the road?
Claudia Harvey 25:51
Yeah, in fact the company that I co-founded with my other business partner, Craig. It's called BG wealth group. And BG wealth group, Craig bought out Kevin O'Leary's position and Dig It. So we became business partners. And then he invited me to be business partner with him in 2018. And we've branded his company to BG wealth group, BG wealth group, also purchases companies. And we purchased a pizzeria and created a burger franchise. Also in December 2020. December 2020 was extremely busy. So we do get pitched all the time now, which is lovely, it's wonderful. We're very, very focused on where we want to be, and the type of products and the type of services and the type of businesses that we want to support. And then we're also growing in our own business understanding and helping others with their financial understanding. So, we are definitely going to be buying. I consider BG Wealth Group, a mini Berkshire Hathaway, because we're, as Warren Buffett buys into businesses that are existing, and they're public, we create businesses and buy existing businesses. But they're much smaller, obviously, than Warren Buffett's companies. But so I say, a mini Berkshire Hathaway, but I liked his business model. And working with Kevin O'Leary. For the five years, we didn't see him a lot. But anytime we did see him, and anytime we had any discussions with him to see how he worked, he worked smartly. He worked focused. And I absorbed a lot of that, when I was working with him and seeing that and seeing how to do that, plus, the training that I had, when I was working in sales for big corporations, there was no downtime with those corporations, like you had to produce in sales. I was working for big, big banks, and you had to produce. And every day, I had to do something to move the business forward in my corporate world. And I brought that into my business world, as well. So my advice to business owners or people of entrepreneurs, that you do one thing a day to move your business forward, and then you have 365 steps that year. So it's 365 steps that you didn't have last year. So one thing, one thing, is it a phone call? Is it an arrangement? Is it a product development? Is it packaging? I don't know, whatever the case may be, one thing to move your business forward. If you don't do anything, maybe five, five steps forward.
Peter Reynolds 28:34
Because it can seem overwhelming. And I know that Damon, I've talked about this before that a lot of us, we love working in the business and not on the business. And I'm going to steal that line from Damon. Every time butI think that the idea sort of breaking it down into kind of manageable chunks. You also talked about this idea of the entrepreneur should sort of be revisiting their goals every six months.
Claudia Harvey 29:02
Oh, absolutely. I probably have in my DNA those goals in my brain every day. If they're in my mindset, in my head everyday what my goals are for the company, but that's my job as the CEO of the company. So entrepreneurs are their CEO, their businesses, and I was the chief bottle washer for Dig It for five years. I did not have a team. It was me. I did everything from operations to accounting to business planning. I did some sales, my ex business partner was the majority of the sales but when she couldn't do a meeting, I took the meeting. So we did everything and I think that's what people have to remember is that you expand your business eventually, but you have to be the chief bottle washer and you have to know every part of your business. Because if somewhere down the road, something somebody says gives you advice. I'm putting my hands up, quote unquote advice. You go, I don't think so. You can't pull wool over my eyes. I've been there, done it. No, that's doesn't cost $20,000, that only costs $200. So you know that, and that becomes part of your DNA, your lifeblood. And that's really, really, really important for business owners to grow their businesses that they are part of their business, an integral part of their business. But eventually, you need to rise above it, and bring in teams or bring in people that will be able to do it, but then you can guide the team properly.
Peter Reynolds 30:36
Who is the first person that that you hire? Claudia? I think that's a big question. I know, for myself, I had gotten some great advice early on. When I like I think many people, I was not a fan of sales, I did not want to put myself out there, rejection was too hard. And I was talking to another entrepreneur who had a very successful business. And I was saying, I'm thinking of hiring a salesperson who can go out there and I'll focus on, you know, doing the actual work. And he said, I'm going to stop you right there, okay? At this stage in the business, nobody can sell the business better than you. So if you need help, get somebody to be doing the work. The editing, the filming, you focus on getting out there. And it was a total shift in my sort of approach to the business. And so, but for those people out there, who are the chief bottle washer, who are doing everything, and they feel like they do need some help, what would be your advice sort of on on where they should, should look to, to fill that spot in their company.
Claudia Harvey 31:44
I tend to agree with your friend that gave you that advice. I think business owners are the best salespeople to a certain limit in their company, and then they grow. But I'm gonna do a roundabout answer to this, I believe everybody has unique abilities, unique abilities could be that you're really good at analytics, you're really good at operations, you're really good at project management. I now realize I'm really good at strategy, really good at it. And I didn't realize that when I started Dig It with my business partner at the time, but I do really understand it now. And so I think everybody has to really hone and pinpoint what their unique ability is. Eventually, that unique ability should be what you're doing. So I'm a strategist, I'm very good at strategy. I'm okay with analytics. And I'm very, very outgoing and can do sales, just because I can do it doesn't mean I should do it. We're getting back to your answer then, my first hire employee number one and dig it, her name is Marina, she's lovely, she's still with us. And she became our administrator. So she was start, she was handling the portals, she was handling customer service, she was handling inventory. So she took all the administration off of my plate. So I could then start to really concentrate on the strategy and growing the business. So I could project three years out where we wanted to be, and not be in the weeds of sending out invoices, and doing collections and things like that. So, over time over I think in the last five years, I've really realized that my unique ability is the strategy part. And then I filled in the team members and hired people for filling in their strengths. So Alison, let's pick on Alison, who is our Director of Marketing and your cousin Peter. She is our Director of Marketing. She is creative, and she thinks completely different than I think sometimes I think ABC and she thinks 123. We get to the end goal. But we get to it in completely different ways. And she is a creative, I am not a creative. I am a strategist, I know what I want. But I don't know how to get there in terms of what the product might look like. But she brings that. So she's helped us tremendously with the website development, and the graphics in the website and bring the brand look together. And I love that because that's not my forte, it's not my thing. I understand it. I respect what she can do. And I allow her with a lot of questions, but I allow her to go into the direction she wants to. So it's bringing strategic people into your company and hiring people into your company when you need to do that and make sure that you're not hiring people that are like you, that people that you're hiring or people that will compliment you that they're not like you. And I totally believe that sales should be one of the last things that you hire. I agree.
Peter Reynolds 34:56
Damon, any thoughts?
Damon Adachi 34:58
Yeah, I think that going back to that point from your friend who gave you the advice at the at the early stages of your business, you are the brand. And that's very important and people gravitate to you because they want to do business with you, and they trust you. And it's so important that you are the face of the company even in the sales capacity. So I guess my question for Claudia is, how does it feel when you stop being part of the brand and you're letting somebody else drive your brand? Does it feel like you're losing contact with that?
Claudia Harvey 35:30
No, I tell my team bring me in when they need me. So, for instance, Spot My UV is going to be at a trade show in Florida, I have a salesperson that will be doing the trade show, but I will be flying in and making an appearance in the tradeshow booth. I'm not doing the tradeshow booths, I'm not selling asking people to come into my booth. And so I can talk, I am doing various strategic meetings and connecting at a much higher level and being brought in. I feel like I'm very connected. I have my team meetings with my teams every week, I have their OKRs. And okay, which means their deliverables of the week. So I'm very, very in tune with what they do. And I help guide their decisions and what they do with if they have questions that we help we figure that out together. So the brand is still mine. I'm still the face and the feel of the brand. But the brand will have to grow. Steve Jobs, not that I'm comparing myself to Steve Jobs, and Apple. But Steve Jobs was the face of Apple, he was that, but he didn't open the doors of all the stores every day, right, he had to have a team of people and hired to do that. He had to trust the store managers that Apple's brand is a consistent and cohesive brand across all platforms, e-commerce, digital store, product development, all of that. So as you're growing in a business, you have to rely on people to open the doors for you. But as you then come in, at certain levels that you have grown to be as a CEO, or as a business owner that needs to expand.
Peter Reynolds 37:25
It's very interesting. I mean, just hearing about your journey, this idea of you develop these skills in the corporate world, you apply these skills with Dig It. And then, got asked to speak to people about your journey, and now you're continuing to help people with your investment company. Something Damon and I were talking about this idea that the entrepreneurs out there, so many of them, they have sort of 50%, or I actually don't know what the percentage would be, but they have the great idea. They have the million, but we all have the million dollar idea. But we just don't know what the next step is, you know? And if you're talking to people out there who have that million dollar idea, and want to approach someone like yourself, what do they have to do before picking up that phone and contacting. What should they be doing?
Claudia Harvey 38:26
Well, I go back to research, making sure that you understand the landscape of where your ideas being generated from. Understand what the opportunity of that product or service is, before you go pitch it to somebody, for investment purposes. So for instance, with Spot My UV is in the suncare channel, obviously. But it's also in the beauty channel, because sun affects skin. Skin for women is a huge, huge, huge, huge market. It's a $32 billion market in North America. So Spot My UV is positioned to tap into that in a safe sun way, because people want to have safe sun, but they also want to have safe skin. And as our aging demographic ages, and the woman is mainly the gatekeeper of buying this product, you're going to be tying in safe sun and cosmetic and beauty altogether. So we understand what the landscape is and the potential. And then when a person understands what their potential landscape looks like, how does that product meet that landscape? So and then how much can you carve out of that $32 billion to project that you can make? And then what does your company have a view of value? And who's going to bring that to market and who's going to do that business? Kevin O'Leary did not buy into our glove company because he wanted garden gloves. He bought into the glove company because we had a plan. And we understood what the marketplace was. And we understood the size of the marketplace. And we understood that the garden industry was growing, the nail and spa industry was growing. And we created a manicure protective Garden Club for ladies, because the same woman that was going to the spas, and getting her nails done was the same woman that wanted to be active outdoors. And there was this little tiny pocket, this niche that didn't have a nail protective glove in the marketplace, they had men's gloves size down to ladies hands. But we have a pillow top protector in each fingertip that we did an industrial design patent on. And that was the uniqueness of the product, the niche of that product. So how does... roundabout answer... How does the product or service meet the marketplace? And how can you bring that to market and do that all that research before you pitch somebody your great idea? People pitch me their ideas. Oh, I've got this idea. But this idea. I'm like, oh, have you looked and see what that's on Amazon yet? Many people that Oh, no, I haven't. That's a start.
Peter Reynolds 41:23
Maybe we could shift gears, as we're coming to the end of this fantastic talk, Claudia, and talk a little bit about philanthropy, because I know you have some things very close to your heart. And sort of the importance for entrepreneurs out there to give back.
Claudia Harvey 41:42
Yep, I think give-back is so important and it goes back to mindset. I have always done some sort of Community Give Back, just you know, being a community volunteer when my kids were in school, or et cetera. In 2016 or 2017, I've lost track of years now. But I went to a conference, I was gifted tickets to go to a conference. And usually I speak at conferences. And I wasn't at this time, I was gifted tickets. And the tickets were $400. And I'm like, it was a November Saturday morning and November in Toronto, as everyone knows, can be cold and awful. The last thing I wanted to do was get out of my house in the sleet, and go downtown Toronto to this conference. But I was gifted these tickets. And I thought, well, I need to do this, like I disingenuous of me to take these tickets and not show up. So I'm sitting in the conference room by myself and the conference is called Social Life. And it was about social entrepreneurship, and didn't even know what social entrepreneurship was. I only knew entrepreneurship to make money and make profit. I didn't know what social entrepreneurship was. And it was that the concept of social entrepreneurship is creating and changing communities somewhere in the world that will affect those community members in a positive way to allow them to feed, clothe, educate, or do better in their own little community. And it's taking entrepreneurship and teaching that to a community that will change the community. And the positive ripple effect is huge. So I'm like, This is amazing. This is what I missed. A Community Give back is one thing, but I wanted to take my talent and tap into my talent to affect other people in a much more global way. So I put that sort of in the frontal lobe of my brain, not in the back of my brain, but the frontal lobe and thought, well, what are these opportunities that I could do? Let me think about it. Let me let me research, let me it'll come to me. September, that was November, September or August, September the following year. I'm in a local market down in Toronto and I see these beautiful scarves hanging in the wind and I thought oh, they're pretty so I'm gonna wander over there. And I see this little sign made in Cambodia hand woven by Sewn As as an organization. I'm like, well to the lady, what are these? And she's , Oh they're hand woven, hand designed by these women in Cambodia and all proceeds go back to Sewn As. And I'm like, well, that's really cool. So I wrote down Sewn As, I wrote the name, I got a little piece of paper in my purse, and I contacted them. And Sewn As is social entrepreneurship. It's a person that's Canadian has created Sewn As as he went to Cambodia, and he created this in a village outside of Phnom Penh, two hours outside of Phnom Penh. He created this industry for these women that create the scarves or get from organic cotton organic dyed created by hand loom by hand. And I thought I can help them and he runs workshops on social entrepreneurship. Long story short, because I don't do anything half assed. I went there in 2018 to Cambodia to see the village, meet the people. And I have created the BG scholarship fund beyond growth scholarship fund. And we've now put four individuals through university from the village. And those people then have to give back to their village within four years, and they have to sponsor individuals to go back, to go to school. So within four years of graduating, they then have to sponsor somebody in the village and the multiplier effect is going to be huge. So and we are creating with Allison's assistance, we're creating brand under Dig It called the Cacao Brand, which will hopefully launch this year, depending on how the year goes. And we are going to be creating home products, scarves, and wraps and linens, etc, from that village. Any manufacturing, goes right back to those ladies, they then are able to educate, feed and clothe their kids, and they have nothing. Damon, Peter, they have nothing. We have so much compared to what they have, they have open air houses without walls, and they're happy. These are happy people. So when I went there, they thought I was giving them a gift of being there, but they gave me the gift. Because the perspective, completely changed in my life about what we have. And the gratitude that I came back to Canada with was, it's what can we do as business owners as people to give back to the world, because we have so much. So I think that's the basis on the kernel of philanthropy for me, it's not I can donate millions of dollars to a cause. And that, if you can do that, awesome, great. There's Princess Margaret foundation needs work, cancer. Cancer Ontario needs help. Whatever floats your boat, but I think give back in whatever way you can is so important. And we have so much, we are blessed to have so much. So I love that I can do that. And that's going to grow more and more as I wean myself off of business, as I get older and older. Because I am only 29 right now. I'm not every listener, I'm obviously not. 29 by heart. But as I grow in business, and I wean myself off of the day to day, I would love to do more and more philanthropy. That's what I would love to do.
Damon Adachi 47:32
Well, it's very, very inspiring, and the entire story from breaking out of a corporate mold into being able to change your own life and enjoy your own life the right way, working for yourself to helping others and now in to full on changing the world through philanthropy. I hope it's a call for others that are interested or wanterpreneurs that are thinking about it that are dreaming of working for themselves and have the freedom, understanding the research and the planning and the struggle is going to come with it. But you are a shining beacon of an example for people that success is out there and you need smarts, you need experience. You need a good team, but follow your heart and do good things. And it will lead to happiness for sure.
Claudia Harvey 48:14
And I think that's so right, Damon. Do good things, do good things, put that positive energy out there and the positivity will come back to you. You put out negative energy and you will only get back negativity. So positive is so so important and trying to stay positive. On days, it's hard to stay positive, then you just go to your network and they will lift you up. That's so important.
Peter Reynolds 48:36
Claudia, I want to thank you so much for spending some of your very valuable time with us today. I think it's been a real education. And I think that our listeners are gonna get a lot out of it.
Claudia Harvey 48:48
Oh, I'm so glad. I'm so glad. It's my pleasure. It's lovely to be here. And now that I'm now part of.. I've been part of your network for a long time, Peter, but anyone can reach out to me to get some advice to join our tribe, that's what entrepreneurship is, it's making great connections with great people. So I'm gonna give you my email address and all your listeners if they want to reach out it's C Harvey so my first initial with my last name at BG wealth group.com. So please feel free. Anybody want to reach out and need some advice? Feel free. charvey@BGwealthgroup.com
Damon Adachi 49:27
I will be emailing you.
Claudia Harvey 49:28
Peter Reynolds 49:30
Well worth the email. And thank you to our maestro of marketing Daymon Adachi for joining us again today. Appreciate your time.
Damon Adachi 49:40
My benefit definitely.
Peter Reynolds 49:43
You've been listening to Claudia Harvey, who is a global entrepreneur, investor, best selling author, and a highly sought after keynote speaker. She is the co-founder of Dig It apparel and BG Wealth Group. My name is Peter Reynolds and you have been listening to Pros and Conversations. See you next time.