This Week’s Guest: Damian Otero
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If you’ve been keeping up with us, you’re probably as excited as we are for this series of episodes in our Secret Entourage month! This is our second collaboration; the first was with Fownders in January. You can find the panel on the dedicated page at stageonestartup.com/secretentourage.
Our third Secret Entourage guest (and the last one before our grand finale with its founder, Pejman Ghadimi) is Damian Otero Reggiori. Damian is the CEO and Founder of Restyle Retail, a company operating kiosk locations specializing in mostly hair & beauty products in American malls.
Damian’s story is truly inspirational. He is originally from Uruguay, but moved to the United States as a child with his parents. Seeing their hard work inspired him, as he explains in this conversation, and instilled a work ethic that has helped him achieve his current success (though it didn’t exactly inspire him to do well in school, so take heart if you struggled there too!).
He started his career at a very young age, and has already worked his way to the top despite being only 24 years old. He has 50+ employees now, and the company made over $3m in sales last year (2016). In this episode, he shares how he has been so successful in this field, how he’s built Restyle Retail into a multi-million dollar kiosk company and what it takes to master the kiosk industry. We then take a turn in the latter part of the episode as to why & how Secret Entourage have played a huge role in his journey as an entrepreneur and with gaining a better understanding of building businesses as a whole.
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Part 1 of 2: Damian talks about his company, explaining how he got started in the field of mall kiosks, what kind of products he sells, and how he gained the skills to achieve success in this retail industry. He also offers tips that will be helpful to anyone else considering starting a retail business.
5:41 – Damian gives us a bit more background into who he is.
7:58 – We learn why Damian stuck with retail instead of moving on to something else after getting some experience. He also explains why he chose to stay as an employee for as long as he did.
12:53 – From the back end, Damian was making every single mistake possible, he explains.
16:27 – Damian walks us through the next steps of his entrepreneurial journey, when he made a 50/50 deal with the company he had worked for.
17:33 – We hear more about exactly what kinds of products Damian’s company sells.
18:15 – Damian had nothing to lose partly thanks to the young age at which he became an entrepreneur, which in some ways is easier than starting out in your 30s.
19:04 – What kinds of techniques was Damian using to drive sales? In response, Damian offers several sales tips, techniques, and strategies.
25:37 – How does Damian gently steer away people who turn out to not have the income or resources to be likely to buy the product?
26:50 – Damian talks about what he does if a potential customer doesn’t seem too interested in the product after the first few minutes.
27:56 – We learn more about how Damian learned how to sell.
29:36 – Damian discusses some of what he teaches his employees.
30:52 – Commissions at Damian’s company range from 20 to 25%, with potential for bonuses on top of that.
31:30 – What’s the process for opening your own kiosk?
33:38 – Damian’s recommendation for getting into any sort of business is finding a small company with a good leader and working there for a while.
35:14 – Damian doesn’t think the specific product is the key to his success, because he’s also had success with other items.
37:02 – We hear Damian’s thoughts on whether he thinks paying by commission encourages people to work hard.
38:47 – What did Damian’s family think about all of his entrepreneurial decisions?
40:31 – Damian explores the ways in which being an immigrant has impacted his journey.
Rocket Round Q&A
- Which car was your favorite? The Nissan GT-R.
- What is it about entrepreneurship that gets you fired up in the morning? “Waking up and seeing what I can fuck up to get into big trouble.”
- Who is an entrepreneurial idol you look up to? Gary Vaynerchuk and Elon Musk.
- Is there a book that has shaped the way you are today? Damian claims that he’s never read a book in his life, and loses focus when he listens to audiobooks. With that said, he mentions The 4-Hour Workweek, Think and Grow Rich, and Third Circle Theory.
- What is your definition of success? “To me, success is having the ultimate freedom to say ‘fuck it, I want to buy a P1 tomorrow’ and start looking for a P1.”
Part 2 of 2: Damian goes into more depth about Secret Entourage. We learn all about the value it offers entrepreneurs, as well as hearing what it did for Damian and Restyle Retail specifically. He talks about the challenges that Secret Entourage hosts, and shares his thoughts for anyone who is considering joining.
48:56 – When did Damian discover Secret Entourage, and what encouraged him to join?
51:09 – In the first Secret Entourage Damian competed in, he came in second place. He won the second one, though.
52:11 – Does Damian see these challenges as being more against other people, or against yourself?
54:06 – Damian talks about the importance of helping each other out, and explains how the Secret Entourage group plays into that.
56:11 – We hear a bit about how Pejman Ghadimi has helped Damian.
58:07 – Damian reveals what he thinks is the #1 thing in business: manpower.
59:04 – What are Damian’s thoughts on building a team and having them around you?
60:25 – Damian shares a story of how much he made in two weeks in 2011, and how he leveraged that for manpower.
61:44 – What would Damian say to anyone who is thinking about joining Secret Entourage, but is still on the fence?
64:49 – We learn that Damian has been working on a joint venture with last week’s guest, Dave Wongk of PureTropix.
68:42 – Damian goes into more depth about the Secret Entourage challenge and how it works. He offers Dave up as an example of how it can work well.
71:44 – He suggests that listeners find him on Instagram
Here’s where you can find Restyle Retail and Damian:
Restyle Retail on Facebook
Restyle Retail on YouTube
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