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28 May

Ep. 143 – Ian & Jordan Kay – Inventors & Co-founders at Rally Flip Cap®

“Jordan, and I really took those personal development skills into the business, just because we really weren’t handed anything, we were brought into something where it was a dire situation, and we did everything we could to keep the lights on, and it really gave us humble beginnings to have that pressure, which we really are thankful for.”

 

Ian & Jordan Kay – Inventors & Co-Founders of Rally Flip Cap®; Helping the family business; Starting from the ground up; Making sacrifices; Giving back; Using adversity; Having passion;Surrounding yourself with mentors.

Segment 1: (Length :04:00) – General Updates; Introduction to Ian and Jordan Kay; Helping the family business; Starting from the ground up; Making sacrifices.

Ian’s & Jordan’s finer points:

“Growing up, yep, dealing with a lot of adversity. My story’s a little different from Jordan. I was attacked by a rottweiler when I was seven years old on my arm, and going at a young age, and almost losing my arm, and going, rushed into the hospital to have surgery, I didn’t understand that, and I almost died.”

“At a very young age, seven years old, I dealt with that, and stared death in the face, was very scared of dogs, out grew that, went to psychiatrists, was on medications, possibly it set me back a year or two of growing up, but I played baseball, I played sports growing up, and I took that adversity of almost losing your arm, and rolling with it.”

Younger on, I didn't realize it, but it prepared me emotionally, and mentally, and visibly for this journey of entrepreneurship.

“Three years later at 10 years old I started developing Tourette syndrome when I went into shock and I was attacked by that dog, neurologically my body reacted with involuntary tics, Tourette syndrome, and I’d be ticking. People would be making fun of me. My neck jerks, and things. Not understanding what was going on at the age of 10, and being radically humiliated, and embarrassed I took that and it really helped me know who I was at that age, not realizing that I couldn’t control my body. That got me into the direction of being tough.'”

“He’s too humble, too. He’s had open heart surgeries, as well. You could have gone on that, but anyways. Mine started at a young age, loved sports, all my life, always saw the light in sports, and wanted to take that to another level. Dealing with adversity within sports, from injuries to the wins, losses, you name it.”

“Sports is pretty much a business in itself, as the way I look at it. Yeah. I mean, dealing with adversity throughout my life. Family business, 2009, dip into that, I was just off the boat from college, studied international business, and as you can see we wear a lot of hats, and like to flip them, too. That’s how we like to say it. We went into the family business, because it was tough times. 2009, a lot of people remember that.”

“Our father had to downsize his business 75%. I gave my brother a call, he ended up taking a year off school, and it wasn’t the initial route we wanted to go, but we wanted to ensure its survival. Long story, short, went into it, started looking for new ways to monetize, clean things up, building back.”

We don't tell a lot of people this, but for a small family business we were 1.4 million in the whole, so it was very tough, walls coming in, but within four years we worked, we put our heads together, worked our way out with creative, bringing in new accounts and streamlining the business.

“Then the next step, hey, being a sourcing company, open market products, hey, anyone could get that, why not we start investing into our own products? We’ve been making products for other people, it’s time to do something of ourselves, and that’s how the idea kind of stuck.”

“Just in the business that we’re in, we’re not working on one product. We’re working on a multiple, a variety of projects. Being ADD boys over here keeps are head in the game. Yeah. No. I mean, just diversifying what we’re doing. Working on multiple projects. Action. Actually doing things, different things, Google is an amazing thing to learn things on while you’re developing, but just having our hands in a bunch of different products, projects, and keeping a focal point on the business, and stability.”

“Yeah. Case, coming into it back in 2009, I was luckily subsidized living at home for free, but I did work for free. I worked in the warehouse, did the inventory management, and Jordan earned his desk after a month or two getting trained. But coming into that environment we had to gain our respect with the other two employees that we have”

“Cynthia, who does our logistics, very forwarding, and she wears a lot of hats, too. A little bit of the accounting work, and a lot of other random things. Then, Jessica, she’s Chinese, from China, she’s been here for 15 years. She handles all our communication with our factories, and also some of our other clients.”

Jordan and I had to figure out our roles early on, and I knew I'd be going back to LMU after a year, from 2010, I graduated in 2012, and I knew I had to bring an asset to the business, and I saw Alibaba what was going on, we had a little presence, Cisco Sales Corp on Alibaba, and realizing with Amazon, I knew I had to bring some digital footprint.

“I learned Dreamweaver, before that became obsolete, and CS flash, and different things, but Photoshop and Illustrator is where I got my broad graphic design emphasis, and knowing PNG’s, graphics, printing on paper, CYMK, and RGB for computers, and really just learning, and a lot of self teaching, and I really value self advocacy, Jordan and I.”

“Self advocacy is not only the belief in yourself, and your abilities, but that you can carry on a task, and that comes from failing of course, from trying, and continue to audit yourself.”

Jordan, and I really took those personal development skills into the business, just because we really weren't handed anything, we were brought into something where it was a dire situation, and we did everything we could to keep the lights on, and it really gave us humble beginnings to have that pressure, which we really are thankful for.

“I just wanted to say one more thing, two little side stories. Just showing the kind of person our father is, who we love and respect so much, and have learned so much from that man, and still learn things every day from him today.”

“In the tough times we were at, my brother took a year off school we were both in the warehouse. My brother started off earlier than I did, a few weeks. I went into the business right after school. First day, I go in, you know young buck, Berkeley degree, just played some football, wanted to do something.”

“Had the burning desire. Went in and said, “Dad, where’s my desk?” He looked at me, he goes, “What are you talking about, Jordan?” He goes, “You don’t have a desk, get into the warehouse,” and I said, “What?” He said, “Get in the warehouse.” All right. Okay.”

I go into the warehouse, my brother and I are there, where I'm going, “Ian, what the hell is going on? We need business. We need sales. We're hungry. What's going on?” Went into my dads office a week later, and said, “Dad, this is ridiculous. I'm a Berkeley grad. I have a degree. I'm here to work.” He goes, “You obviously don't get it. Get the hell back in the warehouse.

“My brother and I started to talk, and a few weeks later I came back in, and I said, “Ian, I think I know what’s going on, man.” We went into my dads office and said, “Dad, is this a test? Is this some type of,” and he goes, “Okay, you’re onto something. Let me take the reins from here.”

“He goes, “I don’t care who you are. I don’t care what you bring to the table, but when you come into a business, especially a family business as bad times, as good times, you need to start from the ground up, and you do that because your sweat equity, but along the way you’re going to gain respect with the culture, and the employees, and you’re not going to be some daddy’s boy coming into the company.”

“My brother and I looked at each other, and said, “Wow. Oh, my gosh.” This was our ah-ha moment for being young bucks out of college, you know a little, what’s the word I’m looking for? A little entitled there, but didn’t even see the entitlement, that was a huge story.”

That was just something that made the inception of growth within the business before we actually started doing stuff.

“Then another thing, just an example, my grandfather, God rest his soul, he passed about three and a half years back, and he was a huge mentor of all of us, and definitely the head of the Kay family. Our grandpa had a background, but he would come in and check in our office every couple weeks just how are things going, and I would complain, “You know, it’s 2009, 2010, grandpa it’s tough out there. It’s hard to get business, it’s hard to get accounts, it’s hard to bring them in.”

“My grandpa looked at me and goes, “Hey, Jordan, you know, it is tough. Nothings easy.” He goes, “If life was fair, you’d be out in Pomona.” The next thing he said, “I just want you to do this, next time you are in a corner feeling down I want you to go outside, I want you to walk to the nearest busiest street, and I want you to count the amount of trucks going by, count. Okay? These big rigs, that’s tough times, someones buying, someones selling, you’ll get it. Go get it.”

Call the number, ask questions. Go to the website. See who it is, do some research, and be patient with it, and pursue it, and onto the next seed that you plant.

Segment 2: (Length :08:00) – Talking with Ian & Jordan Kay; Starting Rally Flip Cap; The process of building on all the details; Surrounding yourself with mentors; Having a vision for yourself and being patient.

Ian’s & Jordan’s finer points:

“We’ve come out with a couple other products that have design patents, and flip cap was utility because of how it flips open, and the flip up feature, and we said at first, “Hey, this product is if we go all in on this, and we work towards it, we develop it, RND, do the molds, go over to China, work with a trading company and develop it, then we’re going to, this is such a great promotional product.”

You flip it open, you're going to remember a brand recognition, additional advertising space. Boom, right there it's in your face.

“We worked the licensing expo in 2013, and did we shit down our leg and realize real quick we need a license, we actually need to make our minimum viable product at the time, the concept was an MVP, we got feedback, people said they love the license on it, it should be a little better quality.”

“We actually had decals, and stickers on it, and now we have a microfiber satin cloth, and we have our dry erase version, and really Jordan will go into more detail, but the vision behind our hat is it’s a tool, it’s a platform.”

Right now, we have two versions, the dry erase hat, then we have our other the classic, and we really looked to create this experience. It's all about going to events. It's all about being a fashion statement, people represent the brands that they wear, but this brand also is a way for people to express themselves when they want to.

“Yeah. Just studying the business, and going through trials, tribulations, hardships, getting out of the hole that we were in. Like I said, just loving the process, and being aware of the little things as well as the big things, and taking that into account, but along the way just from inception we didn’t just go to this hat, this was a build up. We started with design patents when we started going into IP, so knowing that we had to get our own IP, trademarking it. . .”

“The patent process, being involved with that, making sure all our protection was in line, and we came out with a product called the one, two, three miracle sharpener, it’s a manual three stage knife sharpener.”

We weren't always this passionate about openly flipping our hats, all the people that said, “Why flip up a hat, and why this?” We told them, “Hey, it might not be for you,” but that kind of goes back to my story of having Tourette, and other things that I couldn't control, “Hey, this is my truth, it's me. If you don't understand it, no worries, but I do, and God bless you, I hope you understand you, and this is just what it is.

“Rally Flip Cap it looks like a regular hat, it flips up, but the big thing is it suits the introvert and the extrovert, but our mentality is having an open mind. When you flip our hat, it becomes a mechanism, but it means more than that. Having an open mind in life, in the world, everything will make this world a better place. Don’t get me involved with politics, but you know the deal. We just need to come together as one, and I feel like open mindedness goes with the action of our hat.”

“More of our truth is we’re grateful to be alive. Like, Jordan said I’ve also had two open heart surgeries. I have a mechanical valve and the struggles of me having to take medicine, and monitoring my body it’s really allowed me to monitor my social accounts, my outbound sales calls, other emails. I’m able to manage it.”

My truth is, I am so happy. I love taking my presence, and aura around me, and bringing that energy to people. I really want to, I feel like if I didn't open my mouth and talk about my struggles in a positive light I'd be doing a disservice to myself, and my loved ones, and people that know me, and who are better about being around me. I'm not perfect.

“I have my days, but I have my positive self talk with my thoughts, and I put positive energy out there, and that’s kind of what we try to do with your hats, and Jordan says, being very open minded, and open mindedness can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but really it’s a respect factor. We respect anyone that loves what they’re doing, whatever it is.”

“That’s more of the vision, I would say, just off the cusp, but like we said in the beginning, Ian and I are very much sports nuts, and that we love sports. We’ve learned so much, and it’s molded us as people. Me being a college athlete, Ian, being an athlete, could have played college ball, but we take that and we really wanted, I personally with our first license being Cal Berkeley, I’m a proud golden bear, I really wanted to bring something back to campus, bring something back to the fans, for all the people that supported me when I was on the field, and I speak for my brother, as well, and other athletes out there, just because having that comradery, that culture, I just really wanted to bring something bigger than both of us back to us, and then eventually the world.”

We really did a soft launch and was showing our concepts back in 2014 in Hermosa Beach. I did some street fairs, and we worked some other shows, but we did our real launch at Berkeley in 2016 with our only license. We wanted to tell the story of Jordan being a former football player, and how part of our story is giving back to the school, we have to pay a royalty, so we want to show that, hey a student athlete is doing other things outside of school, and it's all about the school, and community.

“I don’t care if you’re a small business, or big business, if you’re not effecting your local community, or the state, or city you’re in, you’re not going to effect the world, or the universe in any way.”

“Also, Case, going back to you talking about elevator pitch, like our energy brought us some amazing opportunity to be on this show, which is very, you know, Dave Meltzer, host of the show talks about it, it’s like Shark Tank with soul, so how I like to talk about it, too, it’s like the Voice compared to American Idol, you have coaches that are mentoring you more rather than just things.”

“Yes, we did make a deal, we are working with our partners, we have them as advisors, they’re helping us scale what we’re doing.”

“They have made amazing introductions and where Jordan and I want to see this is we don’t know if we’re always going to be doing Rally Flip Cap, but we have a lot more to do in the coming years, and we want to help demonstrate and be a part of it, but we really want to work with headwear companies, which we’re already talking with, and it’s a slow patient relationship we’re building that are going to help us with their distribution channels, integrating them in, and it does not happen overnight.”

“We ain’t shit. We are learning every day. We have a growth mindset. We are doing us. Doing us. It’s really just begun, like we plan on really taking our hats to Disney Resorts and putting other characters with our hats, and having it be more of an excepted product. Right now it’s very start up-y, and very niche, and we’re making the funnel very wide.”

“People think it’s overnight success, like you guys, that’s why we love you guys so much, what you guys preach, and what you guy’s truth is all about.”

“I mean, it’s a game of patience. At the same time, you know, you’re finding yourself, you’re evolving, but it does speed up from an authentic standpoint, because that speaks to our audience, and that’s where we really try to be.”

A business is only as good as the people that run it. Just like this entrepreneur media magazine that is backing the show, these investors are investing in the people, it's not the patent of products, and not the brands, it's the people and how they can make a difference to the world.

“It does speed it up, adversity, Matt, because I think of it as, if you have a grocery list, or you know you’re going in and out, and what you want, you’re going to order very quickly. Right? If you go into a grocery store, you don’t know what you’re getting, you’re going to go down the isles you’re going to keep searching, you’re going to be there for 20, 30 minutes.”

“Sometimes on my lunch break I go to the grocery store, and I’m only in there for 10 minutes, and I’m literally running around, I’m power walking, I know what I have to get, and I get it.”

“When you go through adversity you kind of know these weaknesses, which my brother and I have really turned, you know, we’ve complained in the past, but when we finally started saying, hey, it matters to us enough to do something about it. We have this burning desire. I’m a big fan of Think and Grow Rich, I read that book. I wrote down my note to myself of what I’m going to do to earn what I’m going to get over a period of time. That shit has come true. That shit has manifested.”

I'm a big believer in that, and I love practicing what I preach, and Jordan and I are an open book, and our hats are opened up, too. We really want to share that with the world, and we want to teach, we want to help people, how we can. True helping teachers can only dissect with questions. The student has to learn themselves and fail. The master has failed more times than a student has ever tried.

Segment 3: (Length :10:00) – Each of their definitions for success;  Giving back; Using adversity; Having passion.

Ian’s & Jordan’s finer points: 

“For me, it would be having our hats in the stadiums, if it’s us doing a new era flip cap, and you drop the Rally Flip Cap brand name, even though our brand means a lot to us. We’re not that romantic with it. We now have surrounded ourselves with our advisors, and some other people that know how to sell lots of hats, and have an impact with those hats, where they’re going. For me, personally, if it’s having something to do with Rally Flip Cap, when we quote on quote have the distribution, and have our hats globally outside the US, and years to come, or more time to come, I would love to give back in ways.”

“Not only are Jordan and I going to schools more, and helping kids early on, by telling them, and giving them our time, and inspiring them with our story, but I want to personally help and mentor kids that are going through, having Tourette syndrome, or things like that.”

“I also want to give someone the ability to have a heart surgery. My life was saved. Being able to have, I had a reconstructive surgery, a repair when I was 14, and I had a mechanical valve replacement when I was 26. I’m 29, now, so I would love to give that. My legacy would be to give someone the ability to have life through monetizing the efforts of building Rally Flip Cap.”

I would say what we're really trying to do is just make hats more fun. At the end of the day, from a business standpoint where our end goal is, is once the world and people know what Rally Flip Cap is, what we're all about, how our hat works, our marketing is pristine.

“People know what the product is, and it’s right next to a regular hat. You know what? It’s going to look like a regular hat, it’s going to feel like a regular hat. At the end of the day, it’s going to be the same price. Are you going to pick the regular hat, you going to pick the one that brings more value, as well as an experience?”

“That’s where we’re going to go. That’s our mindset. From a more philosophical standpoint, my biggest fear in life is regret, doing all I can to pursue my potential, and rallying the people that are along the way with me, and helping people along the way, giving back where we can, but most importantly just inspiring others to pursue their passion, and find the skillsets that helps them find their passion, and just say, “Hey, you know what? The American dream is still alive and well, it’s possible. It just takes hard work, discipline, and relentless pursuit to get it.”

For me, too, like I said, just through joining our business, and the sacrifices. We sold our house. Our parents went through a nasty divorce. Everything is great now. I currently as of right now, I live downstairs at grandma's house, I'm literally grandma's boy, and I love it. It's living below my means right now, and working hard, and putting everything into this business, and what our actions are with it, but really when it comes down to my biggest weaknesses in life, and things that I really wanted to change.

“I really did what I could, I accepted it if I couldn’t change it, and I’ve turned some of the biggest weaknesses into my greatest strength.”

“If I can do it, and some of the things that I’ve come from and done, I know anyone, and other people that want it bad enough can do that, too. It’s really just a change of perspective is what you need, and also to just very grateful with being mentored by Dave Meltzer, and I’ve always practiced gratitude just because I’m very happy to be alive and grateful, but when it comes down to these five principles, gratitude, empathy, forgiveness, accountability, and effective communication.”

When you use those five principles throughout your life, you will be a happier person, and you'll create happiness around others, and that like energy will attract that like energy, bad or good. That's my thought about that.

“I mean, adversity, you find your truth and strengths through adversity. Going back from adversity being an athlete, I feel like the key to success is taking all that you’ve learned in the sports world, and channeling that passion into another outlet.”

“A lot of people get misconstrued with what passion is, and the question of the day is, how do I find my passion? I have empathy for people that ask that, because I want everyone to feel what we feel. At the same time, though, it’s misconstrued why? Because to find your passion you need to do, you need to find out where your skillsets are, once you find out where your skillsets are it’s amazing how much easier, and the world really starts, the universe opens up to you. You see the light, and find your skillsets that leads to your passion.”

“Kindness, but also note that awareness comes with skills. That awareness comes with what you do. That awareness, trial and error, doing what you do. What works. Measure. You know? Lean startup. Build, measure, learn. I think that’s a huge thing, also, to touch upon, as being aware of yourself, knowing yourself, and you find that also through skillset.”

“Segment 4(Length :03:00) – Hustler Thought of the Day:

Everyone will go through his or her own personal struggles. Embrace adversity. Let it be a part of you, but don’t let it define you. Stare fear directly in the eye. Believe in yourself and if it matters to you enough, you’ll find a way. – Ian and Jordan Kay

GENERAL NOTES:

Ian & Jordan Kay – Inventors & Co-founders at Rally Flip Cap®

Grew up with an entrepreneurial father who mentored them in business and in life. In 1977 their dad Neil Kay, started Cisco Sales Corp. a sourcing and product development company. In 2009, their father had to downsize his business.

Ian & Jordan decided go all in by joining their family business to ensure its survival. Ian oversaw the warehouse, took a year off from college, and worked a whole year for free. Jordan has never taken commissions. Through these sacrifices they knew they were investing into their future.

For decades, their dad made products for other people. They decided it was time to create something of their own

They formed Rally Flip Cap – Jordan had always been a hat guy. He was at a major league baseball game and it was rally time. People were flipping their hats inside out and he didn’t want to ruin his hat. That’s when they had his aha moment. After years of research and developing their concept into a product their vision became clearer. Ball caps have evolved beyond baseball and sports. They have spread to cultures and countries that aren’t even familiar with the game.

Jordan Kay: University of California Berkeley 2009 Alumni. Bachelor’s degree in American Studies with an emphasis on International Business and work in the Global Economy.

Ian Kay: Loyola Marymount University 2012 Alumni. Bachelor’s degree in Studio Arts with an emphasis on Graphic Design and Visual Communication

They have experience in International trade, contract manufacturing, import/export, engineering, project management, and product development.

Jordan’s strength’s include: Building relationships, communicating with clients and overseas factories, tradeshows, quality control, customer service, sales, and creating business opportunities.

Ian’s strength’s include: Photoshop, content creation, social media marketing, online computer graphics, patent searching, web design, leadership, sales, and figuring out the best way to bring value to others.

Check out Ian & Jordan HERE |  Social for Ian Kay: Facebook | Instagram  |  Social for Jordan Kay: Facebook | Instagram Social for Rally Flip Cap: Facebook | Instagram

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Matt Gottesman

Matt Gottesman is a global digital strategist and technology advisor, creator and editor-in-chief of Hustle & Deal Flow™ - an online magazine dedicated to the world's entrepreneurs, creators and makers, a Social Media Influencer and a consultant on New Media and go-to-market strategies for investments in digital marketing, technology, websites, mobile applications, eCommerce, social media and content.