Turning a Hobby Into a Multi-Million Dollar Business with Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs
Episode 1075th May 2023 • Total Michigan • Cliff Duvernois
00:00:00 00:34:02

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Here's the scenario: you quit your job for a new job. Only to find out your new job got canceled. With a wife and child at home, what would you do? Josh did something a wee bit crazy and decided to turn his childhood hobby into a business. A business that is now on Inc 5000 fastest growing companies. His incredible and inspirational story of how this happened is nothing short of amazing.

Links:

Josh's Frogs Website https://new.joshsfrogs.com/

Josh's Frogs Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/JoshsFrogs

Inc. 5000 List from 2022: https://www.inc.com/inc5000/2022

If you want to have these amazing stories delivered right to your inbox at https://totalmichigan.com/join

Transcripts

Speaker:

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs: And I said, I don't have a job.

Speaker:

I resigned for my job because I was about to start this internship in a week.

Speaker:

they said, sorry, there's not much we can do for you.

Speaker:

And I go to my wife and I say, Hey, there's not a lot of jobs, for people

Speaker:

that have a youth ministry degree I'm not really sure how we're gonna save our house

Speaker:

and how we're gonna put food on the table.

Cliff Duvernois:

Hello everyone and welcome back to Ordinary

Cliff Duvernois:

People, Extraordinary Things.

Cliff Duvernois:

I'm your host, Cliff DuVernois.

Cliff Duvernois:

Every now and then a story comes across my desk that I say to myself, I have to

Cliff Duvernois:

talk to this person cuz it is so wild.

Cliff Duvernois:

Today we're talking to somebody who turned their hobby into a multi-million dollar

Cliff Duvernois:

business, has over a hundred employees, their Facebook page is crazy popular, over

Cliff Duvernois:

165,000 followers, they are the largest online retailer of reptile and amphibian

Cliff Duvernois:

products in the United States, and they've been flagged now four years in a row as

Cliff Duvernois:

one of the fastest growing company in Inc.

Cliff Duvernois:

5,000.

Cliff Duvernois:

That is just incredible.

Cliff Duvernois:

And it's all due to our little friend the frog.

Cliff Duvernois:

Let me welcome to the show the CEO and founder of Josh's Frogs,

Cliff Duvernois:

and that would be Josh Willard.

Cliff Duvernois:

Josh, how are you?

Cliff Duvernois:

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs: Doing really well.

Cliff Duvernois:

Excited to talk about, our business and talk about how we got to this point.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yes, definitely.

Cliff Duvernois:

Now, should I call you Josh, or how about Pastor Willard?

Cliff Duvernois:

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs: With, just Josh is fine.

Cliff Duvernois:

because we'll definitely come to that in a second.

Cliff Duvernois:

So why don't you tell everybody where you're from and where you grew up?

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So I grew up in Jackson, Michigan for

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

the, majority of my childhood.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So we lived in Bellevue for a few years and then my family, moved

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

out to, Jackson when we were eight.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And that's really where the love for animals started.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

We were two blocks away from the swamp.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

we spent a lot of time in the swamp catching stuff.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

did a little fishing in that, swamp.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yep.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

yep.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so, uh, my mom's rule was, uh, you could keep anything for one night and

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

then you had to return it the next day.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so that's where the love of animals came from, was right there in Jackson.

Cliff Duvernois:

so you had this love of animals and at some point in time

Cliff Duvernois:

you decided to go off to college.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

Now I gotta ask the question cuz I'm trying to figure out the order here.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

But you did become a pastor, so did you study that

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yeah.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So seminar.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yep.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So I went to, uh, college, I, uh, did a, short stint in pre-med.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Really loved science.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Did really well in science and school.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

thought that I wanted to become a doctor.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And got to connected in that first semester working with an

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

organization called, Youth for Christ.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

It was an organization that, went into the schools.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

for students that might not have, a real good, youth program in their church.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

They did a youth program there at the school to pull,

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

kids together, in that way.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And started doing that and really fell in love with that and, uh, really

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

caught a passion for young people.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And changed my major to youth ministry and, finished my,

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

four year degree, with that.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And then, I was a pastor for, uh, just short of seven years, after

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

that, after I graduated, from college.

Cliff Duvernois:

And during this whole time, you have a love for frogs.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yes.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yep.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So I, sold off everything when I went to college.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Couldn't keep anything in the dorm.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And, uh, when my wife and I, got married, I was a pastor.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

She was a substitute teacher.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

We didn't have two pennies to rub together.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And I really felt hey, as an introvert, I need to find some stuff that, that, that

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

really, allowed me to recharge different hobbies that I, could, invest in.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And, came back to the animals and I said, you know what?

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

I wonder if I bought a bunch of stuff in bulk and sold off the excess

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

stuff if I could cover the cost of this, terrarium inside of my house.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so my wife allowed me to do that.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

I filled our apartment bedroom with supplies against all the walls.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

I sold off a bunch of stuff that I had purchased before the

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

credit card statement was due.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And I had this tank of frogs in our living room and I was like, that was awesome.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

I think I can do it again.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so I asked my wife, Hey, can I get another tank?

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And she said, yeah, sure, you can go ahead and get another one.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And I did the same thing again.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And it grew from that into, we were a two room, apartment and we

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

didn't have any kids at that time.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So my wife said, Hey, you can have your animal room in that one apartment.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Just don't, nothing can come out of that, room into the rest of our house.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so I was buying stuff in bulk, selling off the excess.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Build my collection in that room.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

so I could have a couple hours, every other day taking care of animals

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

as a kind of a recharge for being in a job that's a very extroverted,

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

focused, being an introvert myself.

Cliff Duvernois:

So I want to take a moment to give a shout out to Mrs.

Cliff Duvernois:

Willard, cuz I'm seeing this as a total Homer Simpson moment where you come home

Cliff Duvernois:

and go, I got this idea to sell frogs.

Cliff Duvernois:

Can we keep 'em in the living room?

Cliff Duvernois:

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs: And she's sure.

Cliff Duvernois:

I don't know very many women that would

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

say

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yes.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yes.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Well, well the apartment wasn't the worst part because, we ended up moving

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

out of that apartment into our house and it was an unfinished basement.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And my wife had no plans for that.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so I said, Hey, instead of one room, can I have the entire basement?

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And she was like, yeah, sure.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

As long as it stays in the basement.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so ended up growing my hobby from, one bedroom in our apartment

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

to one basement in our house.

Cliff Duvernois:

one.

Cliff Duvernois:

Oh, that is so great.

Cliff Duvernois:

so you've experimented with selling some, like you said you, you bought some

Cliff Duvernois:

equipment, you're selling that in bulk.

Cliff Duvernois:

When did you make the leap from selling just the equipment?

Cliff Duvernois:

terrariums,

Cliff Duvernois:

whatever,

Cliff Duvernois:

to actually selling live frogs?

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

it was a hobby for, a few years where I'm

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

just trying to build my collection.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

just really trying to fill the niche of finding a hobby for me to do.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And, at this point, the, church that I'm involved with is growing.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And, we're serving, well over a hundred kids on a given week.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so my job transitions from less doing stuff with students to doing stuff

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

with adults that are leading students.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And, and I'm really feeling like, Hey, I really, really enjoy, interacting

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

with students, and helping students.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so I think I wanna do a kind of a career change.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so I decide to go get my master's in counseling.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So I do that.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

I finished the program and at the very end of the program

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

you have to do an internship.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And that's where you do eight months working at a facility.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

You get a bunch of hours and then after that eight month period, you

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

can graduate and get your license and you can go into the field.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

I was all set up to do a juvenile detention home.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Right outside of Lansing and a week before my internship was supposed

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

to start, I get a call from them.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Then they say, Hey, we lost our funding.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

We can't take an intern.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So I call the college and I say, Hey, I'm supposed to do my internship in a week.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

We need to find a new spot.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And they say, Josh, there's just no way we can do it in a week's time.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

There's no way.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

We need you to wait a year and do it with the next group that does it.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And I said, I don't have a job.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

I resigned for my job because I was about to start this internship in a week.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And they said, sorry, there's not much we can do for you.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So this is, 2007, starting the 2008 crisis.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And I go to my wife and I say, Hey, there's not a lot of jobs for people that

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

have a youth ministry degree right now.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

I'm not really sure how we're gonna save our house and how

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

we're gonna put food on the table.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

We're talking and I said, I've been selling this stuff to build this hobby.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

I wonder if I stopped building the hobby and just was selling extra

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

stuff if I could make enough money in this given year to support us.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so at that point, I had not made any money.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

I'd just grown the amount of frogs I was keeping.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

that year, I made $16,000 in profit to that one year.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

was able to save our house and put food on the table, before the, internship started.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So it was really forced upon me to really start the beginning of selling animals

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

and selling, selling, stuff profitably.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Instead of just, trying to build a hobby at that point.

Cliff Duvernois:

So you wrote up a business plan, a marketing plan,

Cliff Duvernois:

did market marketing research.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Nope.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

I didn't do any of that.

Cliff Duvernois:

I love it I love it.

Cliff Duvernois:

Your back's against

Cliff Duvernois:

the wall.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yep.

Cliff Duvernois:

Let's just start selling more frogs at Homer Simpson Moon again.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

yep.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So I start my internship, at that point really started wrestling with

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

okay, I think there's something here.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

I'm doing my internship, from nine in the morning till eight at night.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And then coming home and doing frog stuff and packing boxes

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

till midnight, one o'clock.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Getting up at 5:00 AM putting the boxes out on my front steps so they

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

can ship out and doing my internship.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And I do that for that eight month period, which was just a blur for me.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Had our first kid at that point.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And at the end of the internship, the director says, Hey, Josh,

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

your clients show up and they pay.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Would you like a job?

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

We'd like to just continue this moving forward.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And with one kid at home, at that point, I, I said, I think I want to

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

try this frog thing for now and I can always go back to this counseling thing.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so I explained that to the director and said, no, I think I want to try this

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

frog thing and see if I can, grow it from where I grew up, uh, over the, last

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

year and into that internship and see if I can turn that into to something.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And I always thought that I would try it for a few years and then

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

go back to the counseling and that just hasn't been the case.

Cliff Duvernois:

Was your wife working during this time or

Cliff Duvernois:

did she decide to stay home?

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So she ended up, becoming a, teacher.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So she got a full-time, teaching job, right within a couple of

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

years of us getting married.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

yep.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

She was a teacher at that time.

Cliff Duvernois:

becoming.

Cliff Duvernois:

So you do something really scary

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

With a child at home.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

And you are doing, like I said, something risky.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

In the fact that you're gonna be an entrepreneur and you're

Cliff Duvernois:

gonna start building a business.

Cliff Duvernois:

Do you got any kind of entrepreneurial background?

Cliff Duvernois:

Were your parents entrepreneurs?

Cliff Duvernois:

you're, the one, maybe Black Sheep uncle in the family was an entrepreneur.

Cliff Duvernois:

Do you have any of that behind you?

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

No.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

I like when people ask that.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

I try to look back at my past.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

I don't have any relatives or anything like that or parents

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

that were entrepreneurs.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

But I do remember my mom just getting sick of us being around the house and

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

saying, Hey, you guys need to start a lawn care maintenance company.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so she made us, make these flyers.

Cliff Duvernois:

she really

Cliff Duvernois:

that?

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yes.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yes.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

she,

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

my

Cliff Duvernois:

said, go cut the grass.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

My mom didn't say start so she kicked us out of the

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

house and, talked us through like, how do you go to somebody and how do you

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

ask them if you can cut their grass.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

and how do you do all this stuff?

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So my mom walk us through that, and we started cutting people's grass and doing

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

weeding and doing other landscaping

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

stuff.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

You're getting

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

paid

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

As a 10, 11, 12 year old, kid.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

and we were in an environment, a neighborhood with a lot of people that

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

were much older and on fixed incomes.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so a lot of the people could not do the lawn care that was uh, required of

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

them and also couldn't afford to go out and pay a professional service to do that.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

so we filled a little niche in our little area, for that.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so that, that was our entrepreneurial start.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

I, I mentioned earlier that I'm an introvert like that.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Like I think my mom was probably more so doing it because she realized that

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

tendency in me, to be really reclusive.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so really pushed me out of my comfort zone to learn some skills about

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

how do you look people in the eye.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And how do you sell yourself and how do you communicate uh, with people.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

so I had that, at that period of, uh, uh, of my life.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

But beyond that, just really learned by listening to a lot of podcasts,

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

reading a lot of books, and just really trying to figure it out as I go.

Cliff Duvernois:

When you first had the idea about, hey, I'd to have this as a

Cliff Duvernois:

hobby and you bought some extra stuff.

Cliff Duvernois:

So typically some of the questions that I'll get from people is initially,

Cliff Duvernois:

where did you get that first seed of money to start this going?

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yeah.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

at that point, I had an Xbox and so I sold that for $150.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And then I used that $150 to start the website.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And then I, had a credit card.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So I bought this supplies on the credit card.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And then I had 45 days to sell them.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So I was putting my back, yes.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So I put my, So I put my, backup against the wall and had 45 days

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

that I had to sell the stuff before the credit card payment was due.

Cliff Duvernois:

Wow.

Cliff Duvernois:

I'm glad that all worked out.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yep.

Cliff Duvernois:

So when you talked before about building out the website, did

Cliff Duvernois:

you build a website yourself?

Cliff Duvernois:

Did you

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Oh, yeah.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

I had $150 and I wasn't sure how long that would last.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

yeah, we, if you, if you use something called the way back machine, you

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

go online, you can type in our, um, web address into the way back

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

machine and I'll show you what our website looked like in, 2004, 2005.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And it's ugly and it's nasty and it's, but it works.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yeah.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Totally surprised that it ever anybody ever purchased from it.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

But it actually works though.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yeah.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yep.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

And I think that's something too, that when people go out and they

Cliff Duvernois:

start these businesses and they think everything's gotta be perfect.

Cliff Duvernois:

You just had a website that just worked.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yep.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yep.

Cliff Duvernois:

Now, done your website, when you launched it, did you have a,

Cliff Duvernois:

credit card processing built in?

Cliff Duvernois:

A little shopping cart.

Cliff Duvernois:

People could buy a, a tank and I want this frog, and whatever it is,

Cliff Duvernois:

they could do all of it on there.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So I didn't have any technical background.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Um, I was decent with the computer, at that p at that point, but really

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

couldn't do any of that complex stuff.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so what I did, used PayPal at that point was doing buttons.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So you could do PayPal buttons.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so I built it out with PayPal buttons.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So you'd click a button and you'd purchase that stuff through PayPal.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So it was all on PayPal's backend.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

But learned a, grabbed, go into the library, grabbed an h html book,

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

and learned how to insert that code and tried to figure out how to

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

do it on a shoestring bug budget.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

so I could support that hobby at that point.

Cliff Duvernois:

shoot.

Cliff Duvernois:

For our audience, we're gonna take a moment to take a quick break,

Cliff Duvernois:

and when we come back we're gonna talk about the explosive growth

Cliff Duvernois:

that Josh's frogs has gone through.

Cliff Duvernois:

We'll see you after the break.

Cliff Duvernois:

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Cliff Duvernois:

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Cliff Duvernois:

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Cliff Duvernois:

Hello everyone.

Cliff Duvernois:

Welcome back to Ordinary People, Extraordinary Things.

Cliff Duvernois:

I'm your host, Cliff DuVernois.

Cliff Duvernois:

Today we're talking with the CEO and founder of Josh's Frogs,

Cliff Duvernois:

and that would be Josh Willard.

Cliff Duvernois:

Josh.

Cliff Duvernois:

Before the break we were talking about getting your business up and running.

Cliff Duvernois:

You'd built the website, thank goodness for PayPal, cuz you could

Cliff Duvernois:

start collecting money online.

Cliff Duvernois:

What I would like to do now is start talking about the

Cliff Duvernois:

growth that you're seeing.

Cliff Duvernois:

and I ask this question because it seems like there's, and I want to talk a lot

Cliff Duvernois:

more about this too, there's like a tight community around the people that actually

Cliff Duvernois:

enjoy having these exotic frogs as pets.

Cliff Duvernois:

And also too how you're learning to breed them and to grow them and everything else.

Cliff Duvernois:

let's just go back, so you've got the website launched.

Cliff Duvernois:

You're starting to make some profit, like you said, I think 16,000.

Cliff Duvernois:

Your first.

Cliff Duvernois:

So you made that profit.

Cliff Duvernois:

Talk to us about the next growing point from

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yeah.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yeah.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Once I decided Hey, let's take this out of my house and let's rent a

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

little bit of space there in Owosso and let's make a real good go at it.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

hired my first couple of employees at that period.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And what was that like?

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

That was scary.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

it was fun though at the same time.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So scary in the sense of bringing on employees that you are responsible

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

for giving them a paycheck on a regular basis is scary.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

But the other part of it that's, exciting for me is realizing like that I can

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

bring people into our business that have drastically different skills and abilities

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

and when I have.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Being an introvert, I'm not a very good salesperson.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So one of our first hires was Zach, who's still with our company today to head

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

up some of the sales and marketing that does some of the trade shows that we do.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

He loved that type of work.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Very great with People fills his bucket to go and talk to people all day long.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

That drains my bucket to, to talk to people all day long.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So that was really exciting to bring on some of those people, at the

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

very, beginning and fill the niches that, that I, I could realize hey,

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

I'm not really good at this part and we need to be good at that part.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

As we move forward and started hiring some people that I was connected with,

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

so people from my the town I was living in that I had met through church.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And started doing friends and family, like finding out who has

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

a, who has somebody that they know that needs a job at that point and

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

really building a team, around that.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so we got to the point where it became, less scary and became more stable.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And we really looked at our business and the potential of our business and said, I

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

think it's more than just selling animals.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

I, I'd love for us to have the opportunity to make a difference in our hobby.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so that's when we sat down and we looked at our business and we're

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

like, okay, we're doing some stuff on the business end that's really good.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So we took all of these, parts of our hobby and we brought 'em all together.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So we brought the plants in, we brought the bugs in, we brought the tanks

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

and the substrates and the animals, and we're selling all of it together.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And that's makes good business sense at that point to do.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

But I said, we have the opportunity to grow and to

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

make a difference in our hobby.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And very early on, we decided to take a stand and say, Hey, we weren't gonna sell

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

wild caught animals and we were gonna produce all of our animals in house.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so made that decision from the very beginning.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And decided that that was gonna be our mantra moving forward.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

That we were gonna, we were gonna change our hobby.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

We're gonna improve the quality of the animals that are in our hobby.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And do it ethically and sustainably.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

and so we decided very early on that we were gonna do that, and that

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

has grown and changed, and morphed as we've gone through the year.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

it changed from.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Hey, we're just producing animals to, Hey, I think we could partner

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

with other organizations, uh, that the, frogs are native and we can

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

support some of that conservation.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So we started working with, some, partners outside of, uh, the United States, Places

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

in Madagascar, Jisu, that, is collecting some of the frogs in the wild to do to

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

establish colonies of those in captivity because their habitat is being destroyed.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so we're able to partner with them.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so every time we sell a Mantella, we're giving money back to that

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

organization and connect people's hobby and what they're passionate

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

about doing, with conservation, efforts outside of the country.

Cliff Duvernois:

So let's go back and unpack a couple things there.

Cliff Duvernois:

So first off, the one thing that caught my attention when we came in

Cliff Duvernois:

here was the fact that you were one of the first online retailers to

Cliff Duvernois:

actually bring everything together.

Cliff Duvernois:

So before, if you wanted to start collecting these little critters, you

Cliff Duvernois:

might go to one website and get critter, then you'd have to go to another website

Cliff Duvernois:

and get the terrarium, and then you have to go to another one to get the bedding

Cliff Duvernois:

or yeah, get the plants or whatever it is.

Cliff Duvernois:

But you brought that all in-house on one website so

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

everybody

Cliff Duvernois:

could order everything they need to get

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yeah, yeah.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

It was a, it was a glaring issue in our hobby.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

That's how you had to do it.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

and so it was a really quick win for us to do that.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Just so much cost savings for the and consumer to be able to just

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

order stuff from one location and get it all shipped in one box.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so that was a really early win.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And as a growing business, that was hard to do because

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

we would have to grow slowly.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So we couldn't just start with carrying everything.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So it was adding stuff and adding stuff, as we continued to grow.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So it was a process, to do that.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so a process that we're still continuing to this day

Cliff Duvernois:

And before when you were also talking too about the

Cliff Duvernois:

conservation efforts that you were doing as well, there's this talk about you

Cliff Duvernois:

just can't go out and capture frogs and then expect them to breed in captivity.

Cliff Duvernois:

There's, there's like a life cycle.

Cliff Duvernois:

There's something that they have to go

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yep.

Cliff Duvernois:

to get acclimated to be and in captivity.

Cliff Duvernois:

Talk to us a little bit about that.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Decades ago, you would think that the majority

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

of pets in our, in the exotic pet industry would be wild caught.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So these are animals that are being collected, could be halfway around the

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

world, collected, stored at a port, waiting for paperwork to come through.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And then those animals are shipped.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Usually not in a very fast method to the United States.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Then they make it to an importer who's then gotta sell it to a wholesaler

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

who's then gotta sell it to a pet store.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so it wasn't a very, efficient supply chain, especially

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

for something that is alive.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so a lot of people really had a lot of trouble.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Um, and it was very difficult to keep a lot of these animals

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

because they endured such stress in this transportation process.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And then also too, in a lot of cases, we're very old

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

animals at that point anyways.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And one of the cool things, it's really awesome when it lines up this way.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

but doing captive breeding is ethical and sustainable.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

But it also produces a much better product.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

you, I just talked about that supply chain issues with getting a wild caught animal.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

In captive bread animals here in the States, we're breeding them.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

We're taking care of them.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And somebody purchases one of those animals.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

We put it in a box at 4:00 PM and we give it on a FedEx truck and

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

it's to anywhere in the country the next morning by 10:30 AM.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So that animal experiences a longer than normal nighttime period.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And that's it.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

They're in their new home and ready to enjoy a happy long life.

Cliff Duvernois:

Now, and I do want to talk about this cuz it still cracks me

Cliff Duvernois:

up, that you can put animals into boxes and ship them around the united states.

Cliff Duvernois:

Do you do globally or just the US?

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So globally we'll work with export partners.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And what we'll do is we'll ship a big lot of animals, hundreds of animals at

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

a given time, to an importer who will consolidate that together and then sell

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

that to, a distributor in another country.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So we'll consolidate big, lots of animals that go outside of the country, but

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

the vast majority of our animals are sold right here in the United States.

Cliff Duvernois:

Now, the second thing that comes to mind is when I think about,

Cliff Duvernois:

of course I'm a big fan of the internet I buy 90% of my stuff on the internet.

Cliff Duvernois:

At some point in time, you probably had to make this decision about if you're

Cliff Duvernois:

gonna start ma building pet stores.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

Or not, or maybe that wasn't even on the roadmap, but talk to us about that

Cliff Duvernois:

decision to stay as an online re retailer versus becoming a brick and mortar.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yeah.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

That's a, a, a big question because I think it, it ties on a lot of things,

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

that have to do with just not our business and not in the pet industry.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

But trying to figure out what you're good at and what you're built for.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So, um, you take a look at the way in which our company's built and

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

staffed, like we're really built and staffed around selling stuff online.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so what we made a decision about was that we need to get

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

our stuff into pet stores.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

But it doesn't have to be us doing the pet stores.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

What we've done is we've partnered with mom and pop pet stores, that

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

might have one location we've partnered with, larger pet stores

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

that might have a few locations.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And then we've partnered, with larger big box, pet stores, to get our products into

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

the hands of, uh, customers that might not be looking for animals online, but would

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

be interested in animals and happen to come upon them in their local pet store.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

We're trying to find those, uh, those partners that can

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

help us reach more people.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

and realizing that we don't have to do that part of it, that, we can partner with

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

other places, in order to accomplish that

Cliff Duvernois:

And speaking of partnering, one of the things that

Cliff Duvernois:

I noticed being, I'm a fan of your facebook page is going through there

Cliff Duvernois:

and all of a sudden one day seeing this big old hairy tarantula photo on there.

Cliff Duvernois:

And it's glow in the dark blue.

Cliff Duvernois:

So I'm like, great, I'm gonna nightmares tonight just from that photo.

Cliff Duvernois:

And of course, your Facebook group's very active.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

And I would like to talk about that in a little bit.

Cliff Duvernois:

But you've decided now to branch out.

Cliff Duvernois:

It's no longer Josh's frogs.

Cliff Duvernois:

It's Josh's frogs.

Cliff Duvernois:

It's like you can't know his arc here or something.

Cliff Duvernois:

You got all these little critters.

Cliff Duvernois:

So talk to us about branching out into

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yep.

Cliff Duvernois:

and,

Cliff Duvernois:

spiders and other creepy

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yeah, we started off with frogs just because

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

that's what I started off with.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

But as we started adding, more products, we found that people like to collect

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

multiple different types of animals when they're keeping those as as pets.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so we've branched off into uh, reptiles.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

We breed.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

not very many snakes.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

We read a couple of those.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Mainly we're focused on lizards that are kept proactively.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

and so we keep some desert species and some tropical species, that are, that

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

share some of the same supplies and some of the same care some of our, frogs do.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And then we've, also branched off from some of the insects into

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

some of the pet bugs as well too.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So we're doing a lot of tarantulas now.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

a few scorpions, those kind of things.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And then even down to the, the land crabs as well too.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And hermit crabs as well too.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So we're really trying to branch out and trying to find, opportunities

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

to connect people with nature.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And that's where we really found our mission and helping people get

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

outside the, walls of their, cubicle.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And really enjoy what's the, rhythm and nature, that they can bring into

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

that glass box on their desk or in their home or in their living room.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so we're really excited about some of those opportunities to interact

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

with new people, and find new ways to, bring them into our hobby.

Cliff Duvernois:

Certainly.

Cliff Duvernois:

And I can imagine, and I do gotta talk about this too, because

Cliff Duvernois:

this is not a typical business.

Cliff Duvernois:

No.

Cliff Duvernois:

So I'm thinking about your hiring process for employees when they come in here.

Cliff Duvernois:

So we met that gentleman, Jason, yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yep.

Cliff Duvernois:

Who is running the tarantula room.

Cliff Duvernois:

And as soon as I met him, I thought the might.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

He's a tarantula guy.

Cliff Duvernois:

so when you're looking for employees, you get kids that are scared to flip

Cliff Duvernois:

burgers at McDonald's for crying out loud, but yet to put out there and

Cliff Duvernois:

say, oh, by the way, you'll be handling tarantulas and if the tarantulas get

Cliff Duvernois:

out, you're gonna have to chase 'em down and put 'em back to the cage.

Cliff Duvernois:

So I bet you first off, there's probably a ton of people that wouldn't even apply.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

But second off, how do you find that right fit.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yep.

Cliff Duvernois:

to be able to come in here cuz all of

Cliff Duvernois:

your employees have no problem

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yep.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yep.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

The.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Creek Co.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yep.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yep.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

I think, it's really a unique, type of business and I think that, opens us up

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

for unique opportunities to reach people.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

when it comes to on the hiring front.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So some of the things that we do is we.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

we will go to our audience and our customers, and then

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

we'll do job postings there.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So it's interesting that most businesses don't do that.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

But, uh, sometimes some of our best customers also make our

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

best employees as well too.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

We do a an employee purchase program, where employees get all of our

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

products at a very discounted price.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so that's a big draw for some of our employees as well too.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

We try to partner, with other organizations, especially organizations

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

that outside the pet trade but are very similar to what we're doing here.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So scientific community, legislative, that kind of stuff and partner with

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

them to just show what we're doing on a conservation captive breeding front.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Which sometimes leads to opportunities for people, to come and work here.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And we just have a really good HR team that engages with our marketing team to

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

really promote those types of, uh, roles.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And then we're just constantly trying to recruit, really good

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

people, that are really passionate about changing our hobby.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so we have people that will come from all over the country to work here.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

One of the good examples that I like to point out is, on the insect front, you'll

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

have, people that are really into insects.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So they go to college and they wanna study entomology, which is the study of bugs.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And they graduate and they find out that, hey, there aren't really

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

a lot of jobs taking care of bugs.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

There are a lot of jobs killing bugs.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

But that's not really the passion that they, that they went to school with.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so we find these people that we can, recruit that say, Hey, you know,

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

instead of killing a bunch of bugs, would you like to raise a bunch of bugs?

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so that's been a really cool partnership and funnel for getting people

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

that are passionate about what they're, keeping and getting them to come here.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

We also do a lot of projects, in teams.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So one of the, um, uh, in our isopod department, we started working with a

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

bunch of different crabs as well too.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So in, when you think of taking care of Isopods or Rollie Pollies,

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

it's a job where you're cleaning cages, you're harvesting bugs.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

It gets monotonous.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so we've been able to combine those jobs with very research driven,

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

experiment driven opportunities to breed other animals in that department.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so I think that's a draw for people that we are, we're combining

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

doing new stuff, with doing stuff that we're just trying to do on scale.

Cliff Duvernois:

what I'd like to do is, I wanna circle back cuz

Cliff Duvernois:

you mentioned during our tour, you mentioned this, the legislative piece.

Cliff Duvernois:

So we're looking at these cockroaches that you're reading and you showed me

Cliff Duvernois:

this one cockroach that's I don't know, not any bigger than my fingernail.

Cliff Duvernois:

And you were telling me those things.

Cliff Duvernois:

First off, they sell for $10.

Cliff Duvernois:

a piece.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yes.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yep.

Cliff Duvernois:

Which blows my mind.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yep.

Cliff Duvernois:

But second off, people are going to federal prison.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yep.

Cliff Duvernois:

For smuggling

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yep.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yeah,

Cliff Duvernois:

I'm, it still blows my mind.

Cliff Duvernois:

Talk to us about the laws that are around

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

this.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Are The Isopod craze is all about collecting these new

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

color things and about having the new and, and better stuff.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so that, that incentivizes people to do things that are illegal, bring in bugs,

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

from other countries, without the proper.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Permits or paperwork, not going through the proper channels.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so there are people getting arrested and investigated for, stuff like that.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

It's really interesting.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

On the animal side, there isn't a lot of legislation there.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

It's really pretty wild, wild west.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

On the bug side, there's lots of that.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So we, we partner with the U S D A, we have to get permitted,

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

in order to receive bugs.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And then we also have to get separate permits for every single state, for

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

every single bug that we ship out.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so sometimes states will come back and say, Hey, no,

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

we're gonna deny your permit.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And we have to work with them to develop ways in which we can safely ship those

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

bugs to those locations and sometimes convince them that partnering with us as

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

a legitimate business that's following the rules is in their best interest.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So one of the interesting ones is we, New York came to us and denied our permits

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

for selling roaches into their, state.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And then we appealed and said, There's this black market trade of people

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

selling roaches all over the country.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So roaches are making an into your estate already.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

But part of the permit process requires that we do some record

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

keeping that we could report to you.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Here's how many shipments are going into your estate.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so we said, Hey, like we re-look at our application.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Let's talk about this and let's find ways to work together.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And we were able to get the permits now needed to do that.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And so we really feel like working with the authorities and the, governing bodies

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

in our, country to on the bug side, but also on the animal side, like all the

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

time there's, new legislation that'll come up trying to ban certain types of

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

animals or are nervous about, how those animals are gonna affect our ecosystem.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Michigan did something a few years ago where they were considering a whitelist

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

and we worked with the dnr, and some other players in our government to talk about

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

what would make sense, common sense wise.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And we really feel like, our role, as a player in this industry is to be involved

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

in that type of legislation and education.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Not only our government, and the agencies that might regulate

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

us, but also us as a hobby.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

How do we create a clean trade, that doesn't impact wild populations?

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So we work with organizations like, the University of Tennessee.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

We're working with right now on uh, a disease prevention in our hobby.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So how do we create a clean trade that keeps diseases that might be

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

in one country from spreading to native populations here in Michigan?

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

When we're in, involved in a pet trade that could possibly, spread

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

some of those kinds of things.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And we're really excited about working with those types of,

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

people to to come up with solutions that are win-win for everybody.

Cliff Duvernois:

And another thing too that I would like to talk about, you

Cliff Duvernois:

mentioned this briefly, is your marketing.

Cliff Duvernois:

So as somebody who plays in this world, I gotta give you guys kudos.

Cliff Duvernois:

Cause like I said, your Facebook, a group over 165,000 followers.

Cliff Duvernois:

You put a picture of a frog or a tarantula or whatever it is, people are going crazy.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

So you have obviously plugged into this huge community of people out there.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

And.

Cliff Duvernois:

Of course we walked through your marketing area.

Cliff Duvernois:

I was surprised to see so many people on your marketing team.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

So talk to us about, like how did you go about, first off,

Cliff Duvernois:

creating this marketing team?

Cliff Duvernois:

Cause a lot of people

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

think

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

about

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

home.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yep.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yep.

Cliff Duvernois:

in the online world, you almost have to think about that first.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yeah, very much It's, um, in the online

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

world, we don't have foot traffic.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

We don't have cars driving by.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

a lot of it is really forced.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

We have to force the eyeballs onto the products that we're selling.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And our marketing team does a really good job of presenting what we're

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

selling and presenting what we're doing to customers in areas that they are at.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So it's Facebook, it's YouTube.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Um, it's different forums.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

We're everywhere trying to put our products in front of, uh, customers

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

that are interested in that.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And also building the brand that we want to do.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So a lot of our marketing focuses on the conservation type stuff that we're

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

doing and focuses on, some of the behind the scenes stuff that we're doing that

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

I think really endears people to, to brands that they feel like what we're

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

doing, is actually making a difference in our hobby as opposed to just

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

somebody just trying to sell stuff.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And then I think we're a little bit unique, and blessed in the,

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

arena of we as keeping animals.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

That just a, allows a lot of content And so, we're able to put out a lot of content

Cliff Duvernois:

Yes, you are animals

Cliff Duvernois:

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs: and a lot of different animals,

Cliff Duvernois:

animals, so nice and beautiful too.

Cliff Duvernois:

And one of the things that I would like to talk about as well, you mentioned this

Cliff Duvernois:

several times, is it seems like there's a lot of places out there that when they're

Cliff Duvernois:

selling these types of exotic pets, you were talking about how they're so.

Cliff Duvernois:

close to end of life.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

You know, versus what you're doing here.

Cliff Duvernois:

Talk to us a little bit about that difference.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yeah.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Yeah.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So we mentioned some of that with the wild caught animals.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

A lot of times they're catching adult animals, who knows how old they are

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

and how close they are to end of life.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

One of the good examples of that, here in the US is hermit crabs.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

A lot of the ones that are collected, they might see for

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

sale, especially down in Florida.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Those are all full adults, might not have very much life left on them at that point.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

Because they're really hard to collect and breed in that regard.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

So one of the projects that we worked on with a partner was how to captive breed

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

hermit crabs, which creates a much better experience for our natural habitat,

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

that were not pulling hermit crabs out of the wild, but also provides a much

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

better experience for the customer that get something that's younger, that's

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

gonna last a lot longer than something an older animal, would do at that point.

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs:

And it's less stressful on the animal as well, too.

Cliff Duvernois:

Josh, if somebody's listening to this and they wanna

Cliff Duvernois:

check out your website and they wanna look at your social media and

Cliff Duvernois:

all that other good stuff, what's the best place for them to do that?

Cliff Duvernois:

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs: Go to josh's frogs.com.

Cliff Duvernois:

and don't worry if you misspell it.

Cliff Duvernois:

We own all the misspellings, and so I'll get you to the, the right spot.

Cliff Duvernois:

The, uh, worst name ever for a business to have that many s's in it.

Cliff Duvernois:

because an s sounds like every other letter as well too, so

Cliff Duvernois:

it's really hard to find that.

Cliff Duvernois:

So josh's frogs.com, but you can find us on, uh, Facebook, YouTube, as well.

Cliff Duvernois:

And then, uh, we do, um, markets every so often where we invite people, the

Cliff Duvernois:

public to come and check out our facility.

Cliff Duvernois:

We have those on a regular basis.

Cliff Duvernois:

The next one's coming up here in a couple weeks.

Cliff Duvernois:

Oh, nice.

Cliff Duvernois:

For our audience, you can just go to total michigan.com, click on Josh's

Cliff Duvernois:

interview and be able to see all the links that he mentioned there.

Cliff Duvernois:

Josh, once again, thank you so much for having us in today.

Cliff Duvernois:

this is quite the place.

Cliff Duvernois:

So anyways, thank you for letting us in.

Cliff Duvernois:

Josh Willard, Josh's Frogs: for letting Thank you cliff.

Cliff Duvernois:

It was, good to have you and good to show you around.

Cliff Duvernois:

Great.

Cliff Duvernois:

And for our audience, we will see you again next week

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