Dave Lukas Chats with Jeremy Parker
236: The Power of a Name and How to Disrupt an Industry with Jeremy Parker
This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Jeremy Parker. Jeremy is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Swag.com. Swag.com is the best place for companies to buy and distribute quality promotional products that people will actually want to keep. They work with over 5,000 companies including Facebook, Google, Amazon, Spotify and Tik Tok. The company was ranked #218 on 2020’s INC 500 list and has been growing tremendously.
But, a promotional products company growing massively in age of no tradeshows or in person meetings where these things are typically exchanged, how can that be? That was exactly the question I had when I was first introduced to Jeremy. What is he doing differently at Swag that has people flocking to them?
I thought it best he share his secrets with you.
Jeremy went to Boston University for filmmaking. But he also liked branding. He chose filmmaking because YouTube was just beginning, and he saw a way to tell stories/market through filmmaking. He did a documentary that won the Vail Film Festival. It was this point that he had to make the decision on if he wanted to continue down the filmmaking path or go to his true passion in marketing. He went back for his final year in college and focused on marketing. He decided to start a high-end T-shirt business and use it as a learning process – right before the crash in 2007.
Just after getting started, all the places he was selling his shirts to were starting to have trouble. He decided to index the price of his shirts to the price of the DOW Jones. Every 100 pts it fell equaled a discount on his shirts. Jeremy wrote to Mark Cuban sharing what he was doing, and Mark shared it on his Maverick blog. It then got seen by the CEO of MV Sports, a larger player in the promotional space. After meeting, the CEO committed to help fund his next business.
He decided to re-imagine university apparel and started a brand under MV Sport. He then started a company doing product placement in Youtube Videos which then sold to a publicly traded company.
He always liked the promotions business and new it was stuck in old ways and needed to be tailored to work with the Millennial buyer.
Talk to use about the early days and getting going. What is your best advice for entrepreneurs just starting out?
Is there a framework you use for disrupting an industry?
What has been the most impactful decision for your success during the pandemic?
How do you get customers today? What works? What doesn’t?
What applications do you use to manage your marketing, engagement, re-targeting, etc.?
Tell us about your unique perspective on fear…
At the 35 min mark, we discuss fear further and asymmetric risks…
At the 40 min mark, Jeremy talks about trends he sees for the future…
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