Interview with Tyler Howells, Owner, Cozy Earth
Cozy Earth is the leading source for the most premium quality bamboo linens in the world. New Media Guru interviewed Tyler Howells, Cozy Earth’s owner to find out more. This interview is the 1st in an interview series of an inspirational story sequence for Entrepreneurs called “IGNITE // OUTSOURCE // MULTIPLY // ELEVATE”. Big thank you to Tyler for the interview!
What is the back story of your entrepreneurial journey? Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Southern California. I served a mission for my church in Australia for two years and was told to serve the Chinese people, so I learned Mandarin Chinese. On my mission I became fluent in the language and when I returned home and attended the University. I used Mandarin as an emphasis of my major. During college I started my first company locating, negotiating, and sourcing hardwood flooring from China to distributors in the U.S. Due to the housing crises and uncertain demand in the new construction market, I changed course and joined with another entrepreneur sourcing beauty products from overseas. After about three years I once again broke out on my own starting up an organic bed linens company and here I am today.
What were you doing in your career before you started your present venture?
Working with other startups.
Can you look back and talk about the ignition process of determining what you were going to do as an entrepreneur?
As soon as I was fluent in Mandarin and had gained knowledge of the Chinese and their culture I knew it was something I wanted to maintain. I wanted to use my second language and also my love for the Chinese culture in everyday business. In college, I decided to try and start my first company so that I could learn the ropes of entrepreneurship and hopefully create a job ready for myself when I graduated. Luckily, I was able to do that. In determining what I was going to do as an entrepreneur I knew I wanted to use my language and do something that involved products AND people. Importing and sourcing seemed like a great fit.
Did you have an idea what that company would be about?
At first I didn’t care what my company sold. I only cared that I believed in it and it was a viable product. I bounced around a lot of products and services before settling on one that had the right product, niche, and timing.
How did you fund the initial stages of the company?
For my first startup, I set up the business model in a way that the down payments (paid by the customer) covered the entire cost of the inventory. I was willing to be paid once the product shipped, so there was no initial funding required in those businesses. Later, when inventory was needed up front, I was lucky to be approached by investors who were interested in what I was doing. They were happy to invest and still provide capital when necessary today.
What was the first year journey like? How did you go beyond your immediate contact base?
Very slow going. Late nights, long hours. I reached out to everyone I could that would be potential customers from knocking doors to using the internet.
Who were the earliest people you worked with and how did you build your team?
I try to keep my “team” as lean as possible. People have complicated things for me in the past, so the less full-timers on board the better for me.
Please provide some information about your company’s product/service?
We sell luxury organic bed linens that wick moisture, are eco-friendly, and the healthy natural bedding on the market today.
How did Outsourcing assisted you in Idea development?
Outsourcing keeps my company lean and also introduces us to new processes and ideas without taking on too much overhead.
Do you outsource services for your business? If yes, what kind of services are these and how it helps you in business growth?
Yes I try to outsource everything I can. Currently we outsource design, web services, SEO, shipping and fulfillment, and much more.
If you look at what is happening in the industry, what old systems or techniques / mindset/ approach do you find yourself replacing more frequently?
Working in the business rather than on it. I always need to work on that.
What is the next major step forward?
What is the future of (company name)?
Grow our company into the major bedding brand and dominate the online market.
Is there one lever that you have identified that will make a difference in your growth process?
Leveraging the internet to increase our brand and bypass brick-and-mortar based competitors.
What advice do you have for the budding entrepreneurs?
Don’t look at the clock or your paycheck. Look at your goals and the benchmarks to get you there and go for it.