The Oil Pulling Brand
As I was sitting in my 1700 RMB apartment in Shanghai, China. I saved enough money to actually go with my first brand. This was pre-bootein, but post various drop shipping stores. I’ve been eating 3 RMB noodles and spoonfuls of peanut butter for a few weeks now with various McDonald’s breakfast deliveries through the week whenever I felt like I needed some nutrition. I was ready to go.
Before I actually got to launching Bootein as as a coffee scrub brand I was actually about to pull the trigger on an oil pulling brand. If anyone doesn’t know what oil pulling is, back in 2015ish, brands were blowing up on instagram left and right with various influencer marketing built brands, the products didn’t matter. Teatoxes, coffee scrubs, fit bands, protein powders, whatever was sexy and could be branded well was blowing up. Oil pulling was one of these. Basically you would put coconut oil in a sexy tube and have people ‘pull’ them into their mouth, swish for a few minutes and boom whiter teeth. The facts if this worked or not did not matter to me, what mattered was that people on instagram did.
I saw one of these brands and was in, I thought I could brand this better and began sourcing. My great idea was get a bunch of these sachets, put them into a bag and sell them on a subscription based model. Again, but with protein. Yes, protein-infused oil pulling. I could see the ad copy in my head ‘What is that one dentist recommend nutrient missing from your teeth routine?’.
Looking back now, I think all this protein-infused jargon came from my obsession with going to the gym at the time, I was benching 225 for the first time in my life and feeling good, forgive me guys.
I began sourcing, I messaged various suppliers and realized that most of them did the oil, but not the packaging. Most of them wanted to sell me the oil but didn’t want to get in to the packaging. I understand where their coming from. I was looking for an oil pulling sachet that had to be filled, and then have this sachet be put into bigger bags, so like 14 or so in a bag. I was thinking of telling customers it was a 14 day whitening regiment or something. The point is this workload was too much for my budget.
I finally found someone who was willing to do this. The last issue I had to deal with the price of all of this, the initial packaging molds (2) the oil, packet, and large packaging and then the shipping to a warehouse.
I actually ended up getting a pretty decent deal. This was going to come out to about $1200 USD, the additional packing, shipping and things would bring my total cost to about $2500 USD or so. I was willing to accept this. So why didn’t I pull the trigger? I got cold feet I think. I knew this thing was a fad, I mean how long before youtube videos would be calling this garbage out as a fad? How could I compete with the established brands? Was protein-infused enough? I was young as hell, I still am. As Jiang Zemin would say ‘Too Young, Too Simple, Too Naive’. I basically got cold feet, pulled out and decided to go ahead with the coffee scrub instead. I thought that at least a coffee scrub isn’t a fad, it has a longer established history and advertising to women who are always looking for better skin would be a much simpler road for me.
I learned a lot from this ‘failure - to launch’. I learned how serious last minute resistance is, how doubt clouds your mind, how sometimes making some kind of decision is usually the best decision. I am lucky that I actually went ahead and just didn’t kill my first product 100% dead, and actually created something later. But looking back now, it should’ve been this oil pulling thing. I remember this experience every time I am feeling anxious about pulling the trigger on a decision, to just say fuck it and go with I am feeling and ignore the doubt.
- Stop trying to put BS past people
- I don't want to make it rich off selling garbage to the people