Care for Your Beard for a Buck a Month: How the Bros at Dollar Beard Club Are Turning Parody into a Successful Business Model.

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“We sure as hell won't be sending you any f***ing razor blades,” a man with a full, voluminous beard tells viewers of the first viral video for Dollar Beard Club.

He then goes on to explain that for a dollar a month, subscribers can get beard oil and other beard care essentials delivered directly to their doorsteps.

The company started as a parody of Dollar Shave Club, a similar subscription service for razors. But it soon grew into an internet marketing sensation in its own right.

“The Dollar Beard Club actually came about because it was our philosophy on life in general, and translated into a business,” says Alex Brown, one of the business' cofounders. “We grew our beards because it represented confidence, not caring what others think about you and doing business on our terms.”

Brown and his colleagues, Chris Stoikos and Mike D'Agostini, were handling marketing and social media for other companies when the idea for Dollar Beard Club came their way in 2015. After receiving over 2 million YouTube views on their first video alone, the entrepreneurs knew they were on to something. And those views have translated to subscriptions.

“Social media marketing and viral videos drive the vast majority of our customer acquisition, and go hand in hand,” Brown says. “Because we create such great content ,we find that our cost per acquisition is quite low when driving traffic to acquire customers. We focus on building a community and in creating great content, which creates a massive sense of brand loyalty, and our sales happen as a direct result of this focus.”

Now, the same guys behind Dollar Beard Club are turning heads for an entirely different product: CoolBox, an updated tool box for the modern age that includes a whiteboard, audio equipment and a bottle opener. CoolBox recently earned an investment from the pros on Shark Tank, in an episode that aired earlier this month.

“ We didn’t have any particular strategy going in, to be honest,” Brown says of the Shark Tank experience. “It was more that we knew where we were going and what we needed to do to get there. That kind of attitude caught the attention of the sharks in a major way.”

In a turn of events Brown calls “serendipitous,” the first television commercial for Dollar Beard Club ran during the Shark Tank episode.

Brown, Stoikos, D'Agostini and their collaborators plan to continue developing new products, and to find interesting new ways to market them.
“ We want to be an intersection of content and commerce,” says Brown, “with our core business in beard products, but creating customized content and product offerings for various customer segments and in various industries. Because we have created a community and not just a customer list, the possibilities of where we can take the business are unreal.”

Heavy Duty Delivery Just Got a Lot Easier: How a ROC member is bringing on-demand to delivery

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The idea for Orange County startup bringpro came from a simple problem that needed to be solved.

One of the company's founders was shopping for a new television, but found that delivery options were very limited. Faced with the options of renting a truck or requesting help from a friend, the founder wished there was a cleaner, simpler, and more professional way to handle this dilemma.

Enter bringpro, an on-demand delivery service that cofounder Joe Carter calls “an Uber for stuff,” which users can access online, or by downloading the app.

Carter and the other founders began market testing analysis in late 2014, and were met with positive results.

“Everyone who was asked the question, 'What do you think about this kind of service' gave an overwhelming response: 'What a great idea. I wish I had thought of that!'” says Carter.

The business works by allowing customers to place requests for a delivery truck with two professional, properly licensed drivers to help transport new purchases and other large items. The drivers even provide placement and assembly if desired.

“New opportunities come to us every day,” says Carter, “because we are creating a market and people are still discovering new reasons to why use us.”

Currently, bringpro limits its services to Orange County, but Carter and his team plan to expand to other nearby counties soon. Much of bringpro's business so far comes from referrals from friends and sales associates. Making its purpose clear to consumers can still be a hurdle for the company.

“Our goal is to delight our customers by understanding their needs and providing a service that elevates their experience to the highest level,” Carter says. “The concept of on-demand delivery is still new to the public, so the greatest challenge has been to help them understand that they can get the delivery when they want it simply by requesting our service when they want it, rather than having to schedule in advance.”

bringpro calls the Newport Beach location of Real Office Centers its home. Carter finds the arrangement much more rewarding than a traditional office setting.

“Being in an environment that caters to startup companies and young successful businesses provides us with a great atmosphere to concentrate our efforts,” he says. “ROC really caters to their clients, which helps us to remember to get up, move around and socialize. It’s a great environment, and great employees who make it happen.”

Carter hopes that the combination of convenient service, urgent problem solving, professional driving and appropriate certification will help bringpro continue to bring new ideas to the on-demand service market.

“Our future vision is that the service we provide will be very broad and will impact our customers on a variety of levels,” he says. “This will be a constantly evolving market as we become a more 'want it now' society. Our goal is to be on the forefront of those changes, and to be creating the innovation before it becomes the norm.”

In need of on-demand delivery in Orange County? Check out bringpro's online services, or download the app!

ROC Contest: Win a Free Office in LA, OC or San Diego for a Year!

People often say that it takes a village to raise a child. Here at Real Office Centers, we believe it also takes a village of sorts to help a small company grow — which is why we are giving away free offices for a year for four different businesses in the Los Angeles, San Diego or Orange County area.

To enter, just get in touch with us here and tell us how a spot at ROC could help your company succeed. Here is a look at some of the different features and benefits our office spaces have to offer.

• Administrative and concierge services: If you spend half your time answering phones and filing paperwork, you will not be left with a lot of time to focus on what is important to you — things like innovation, client connections and employee training. That's why ROC takes care of most of the busywork for you with administrative and concierge services. We'll dot the I's and cross the T's, so you can get busy writing your company's story.
• Collaboration: You'll have a private office if you win the ROC Contest, but you will also have access to open collaborative spaces, which each of our locations are built around. We tend to attract ambitious and creative entrepreneurs, meaning that sharing projects and swapping ideas comes naturally for our tenants. You can take your business to the next level by teaming up with other small local businesses that share your big dreams.
• Technology: These days, if you are not on the cutting edge of technology, it is easy to be seen as behind the times. ROC furnishes our offices with state of the art office technology, including high quality video conferencing centers. These helpful tools will help you easily stay in touch with clients and remote employees, while also impressing anyone who visits your office.
• Amenities: Sometimes even the most enthusiastic entrepreneur needs a little break. We offer top notch amenities at all of our locations, including cafes serving local coffee, comfy couches and chairs, and serene outdoor workspaces. Certain ROC locations also provide car washing services, full kitchens, locker rooms with showers and more.
• Locations: In order to take your business to where it needs to be, you need to start at a great location. ROC's multiple locations in Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange County offer convenient access to gourmet dining, high end shopping, and even the beach. Whether you prefer to spend your lunch break at Fashion Island or catching a few waves, we have the right location for you.

What could a free year at ROC do for you an your company? Four lucky winners will soon find out. Again, all you have to do to enter is visit this page and tell us how ROC fits into your professional plans. We look forward to reading over a lot of stellar applications.

Top 5 Places to Work Outside in Orange County

5 best places to work outside in orange county

This Sunday marks the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, when our clocks jump ahead an hour and the days grow longer. Why not use this opportunity to ditch the fluorescent office lights and find some prime outdoor workspace? Here are five of ROC’s favorite spots to work outside in Orange County.

The Vine OC: This Irvine startup community gives young businesses space to grow and thrive, and that includes a sunny outdoor patio with plenty of tables for collaboration and solo work. Grab an coffee from the onsite cafe and enjoy the natural light from sunup to sunset, when overhead lights provide an extra boost. ROC operates this space in collaboration with EvoNexus, the Irvine Company, and UC Irvine.
ROC Newport Center: This ROC location tailors to the businesspeople who like to surf on their breaks, make deals over lunch at Fashion Island, and soak up as much sun during the workday as possible. The elevated patio is furnished with comfy chairs, couches and communal tables, making this an ideal space to entertain a client or fire off a few emails. Greenery and bright umbrellas round out the urban beach feel.
ROC Newport Beach: The expansive outdoor space at ROC Newport Beach is so meticulously cared for, you might feel like you're visiting a museum rather than a workspace. Designed for collaboration, this office space offers locally sourced coffee and easy access to some of the best dining options in the area. Pick up a coffee and a salad or sandwich to go and enjoy your lunch hour right on the premises. The setting is so peaceful that you'll be tempted to spend your entire workday outside — and that's just fine with us.
Newport Beach Public Library: This library is a far cry from the usual musty, cramped buildings that might come to mind. The innovative, modern design invokes waves, and the floor-to-ceiling windows let in plenty of natural light, so you will feel like you are outdoors even if you aren't. When you do venture outside, a spacious courtyard with ample seating will make for a lovely way to soak up the last hours of sunlight while getting a little work done.

Your Local Coffee Shop: When all you need is a laptop and open WiFi, the world becomes your office. Orange County is overflowing with coffee and tea shops that provide outdoor seating, easy internet access, delicious treats, and even the opportunity to network. If you're in Irvine, try BLK Coffee, one of the area's most raved-about spots for authentic Vietnamese iced coffee. Folks in the Newport area will have to try Newport Coffee Company, where you can enjoy views of ocean waves and palm trees while you work.

Wherever you choose to work, getting some natural sunlight and peaceful scenery is enough to improve anyone's workday. Check out these spots, and let us know if you discover any ideal outdoor workspaces of your own.

College Athlete Turned Techy Goes Mighty

Between Spotify, Apple Music, and all the other music streaming services out there, listening to music on the go has never been more convenient or versatile — but for Anthony Pu, founder of Mighty Audio, there is still one frontier that has yet to be reached.

“Mighty was born from a personal need among our team," says Pu. “We are all ex-athletes and avid exercisers as well as big music fans. When Spotify and other streaming services first came out and I switched over from iTunes, I personally thought to myself ‘Where's the iPod shuffle equivalent for these?’”

For Pu, who played Division 1 tennis at the University of Pennsylvania, having to keep his smartphone on him while working out proved bulky and troublesome. A few cracked screens and broken devices later, he and the team at Mighty finally set out to do something about it.

“Since nobody had come out with a product yet,” Pu says, “we decided to try ourselves and solve this pain point.”

Mighty is a small, simple audio player that allows users to listen to playlists from streaming services while working out without needing to have their smartphones on them. The device connects to a Mighty app on the user's phone using Bluetooth technology.

As of the time this post was written, Mighty's Kickstarter page had raised over $180,000, with an ultimate goal of $250,000. The funding deadline is end of day on March 23.

Though the original prototype was designed to accommodate Spotify, Pu sees the device going much further in the future.

"Our goal from a business perspective is to go way beyond just a player to play streaming services," he says. "We see opportunities with being an open source device and integrating with other types of audio and fitness content via our mobile app."

Pu hopes Mighty users will someday use the player to stream podcasts, audio, television and NPR.

Mighty has already received media attention from Time, Hypebeast, and other prominent outlets. After receiving feedback from initial backers on Kickstarter, the team has upped the hard drive storage to 4GB, and has kept the price at an affordable $79.

Pu says that in the future, additional updates to the product might include waterproofing for swimmers, additional memory and battery life for marathoners, and bluetooth headphones. He also sees the company developing beyond its original product, as the way people use their smartphones changes.
“Our thoughts on the future of tech in general is that the smartphone is becoming the laptop for the millennials,” Pu says. “Phones are getting bigger and more expensive and act more like a central hub for people. So we think there will be an ecosystem of devices around the phone that serve focused purposes that don't require the phone, and Mighty is just the first product we put out there.”

 

How to Make Your Company A Part of a Global Community

 

The importance of being a business who supports all types of communities

Real Office Centers is about a lot more than giving companies and individuals a place to work. Through our efforts in Mexico, Molokai, and Southern California, we seek to redefine what corporate involvement looks like in a community. As we often say, there are much more important things in life than the contents of your bank account.

Loma Bonita, Mexico

Admittedly, ROC's initial interest in the Loma Bonita area was profit-driven — we thought the idyllic coastal area would make an excellent resort location. But once we immersed ourself in the local culture, we realized that the true richness of the area could be found in the people themselves.

The people of Loma Bonita did not have a lot of material wealth or access to education, but they did have welcoming spirits and a willingness to share their way of life.

Soon after becoming acquainted with the community, ROC sponsored a local soccer team. Today, we have built a school, paved roads, installed electricity, dug septic tanks, paved residential lots, and built churches and houses in the area. We have also hired many locals to work on our premises.

Seeing Loma Bonita resident Maria walking her two young daughters to school everyday — an opportunity they otherwise might not have — is worth more than any money we might make with a resort.

Molokai, Hawaii

Many native Hawaiians see Molokai as the last remaining island that has not been completely engulfed in the wave of Americanization. Big developers recognize this as well, and are constantly trying to make their mark on the island.

Local resistance to mass development has not played well politically, and Molokai residents are being punished with the highest electricity and fertilizer prices in the nation. These dangerously high costs are threatening the island's chances of continuing to exist sustainably.

Eco ROC, our environmental offices, is working to give residents electricity at a third of its current cost, and restore the fertilizer price back down to the national average. We are currently striving to find a balance between natural environment, social well-being, and the growing economy.

Chrysalis

Los Angeles-based nonprofit Chrysalis provides resources for homeless, low-income and previously incarcerated people with the aim of helping them find employment and become self-sufficient. ROC is proud to partner with Chrysalis by hosting career programs, and even hiring individuals referred to us by the organization.

Before coming to work for ROC, Randall Haro was incarcerated for 26 years. Today, he is a successful and well-liked janitorial and events setup employee. He hopes to assist with security in the future.

“It's a great place,” Haro says about ROC. “The people are kind, and I appreciate that very much.”

Through these three efforts and others, ROC lives our philosophy of rising to the occasion, striving for the best, and exceeding expectations. We believe that giving back to our community defines who we are, and we encourage everyone in our community to live by that belief.

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