Ryan is keeping our Future of Digital Commerce series radical with founder and CEO of Nufabrx, Jordan Schindler.
In this episode, Ryan sits down with founder and CEO of Nufabrx, Jordan Schindler. Ryan and Jordan discuss the revolutionary line of clothing, health wear -- essentially supplementing the need of medical creams, gels, and pills by embedding them in to the fibers of clothing. Jordan discusses what's worked for the company as they scale their e-commerce.
Jordan tells THE RADCAST the personal reason why Nufabrx started, how he developed the brand, and the extreme growth it's e-commerce site has seen over the last 12 months.
Nufabrx and Jordan's story has been featured in People, Fox News, Women's Health, GQ, Esquire, and others.
Ryan Alford [00:00:00] Hey, guys, what's up? This is Ryan Alford, welcome to another edition of the Radcast. We're knee-deep now in our e-commerce/digital-commerce series and we've got a great guest today. I'm excited to be joined by Jordan Schindler, the founder and CEO of Nufabrx. It's great to have you on, man.
Jordan Schindler [00:00:32] Thanks for having me on. I look forward to it.
Ryan Alford [00:00:34] As we've been delving down the path of e-commerce and, we've been pretty transparent that we're going to try to keep things radical in the Radcast. I don't want to give away any thunder here, but what they're doing with Nufabrx is quite revolutionary and radical. And so we're pivoting both down the e-commerce side, but we're keeping our topics radical. So I appreciate you covering every base that we need here on the Radcast.
Jordan Schindler [00:01:07] We do it again.
Ryan Alford [00:01:10] Well, Jordan, let's start with your background. I know you guys are. You don't let me use my words somewhat in your infancy, as a business, as a brand and stuff like that. The last few years, I'm sure, as you're growing. But you're in the earlier stages as a business. But let's talk about just your background. What led you to Nufabrx? And again, not giving anything away. What really makes your product and what you guys are doing revolutionary?
Jordan Schindler [00:01:47] So I grew up in Arizona on the West Coast. I always had that entrepreneurial passion. I remember from an early age trying to sell my parents' possessions at garage sales. And we took an early trip to China and I bought some MP three players and was able to sell those on eBay for somehow more money than I bought them for. And I think that sparked my entrepreneurial passion. And so I went to college out in Seattle at the University of Washington and unfortunately suffered from bad skin. So I had bad skin, bad acne and went to the dermatologist and ultimately learned about the link between your pillowcase and bad skin. So as you sleep, the dirty oil from your pillowcase clogs your pores. And so my dermatologist recommended to me that I wash my pillowcase 2 to 3 times per week, which at the time of the college-aged male was never going to happen, never still not going to happen. But that's what got me thinking about it. How do you get a benefit from a garment or fabric, something that contacts your skin all day, every day? And so that's the foundation for how we started. So teamed up with some Ph.D. MIT drug delivery scientists to figure out a way to actually deliver ingredients through a garment. So our core value is around simplifying health and wellness. And so it's this idea that instead of having to take a pill or use a cream or a patch, what if you could just get dressed in the morning? And so are our IP-enabled control, delivery of medications, vitamin supplements through your clothing. And those were able to last for 25 plus washes. So we're creating an entirely new category of clothing that we call health care. So whether it's a line of pain relief products, we have a line of pain relief types going on Terzic infused knees, these arms sleeves. So the ankle sleeves nationwide at Walmart, it might also be melatonin in a pillowcase to help you fall asleep faster or we'll be launching an athleisure line with an anti-cellulite cream built into it. So a very wide variety of ultimate garments and applications. And for us, it's simplifying consumer behavior. And that's really what we're all about.
Ryan Alford [00:04:06] So the medication I got, like just my mind is my curiosity in my mind without giving away any patterns here. So, you can take this as far as you need to, but we've got medicine, literal medicine of some type or some type of molecule or whatever we want to call it is blended into the fibers and these fibers, whether you wear, sleep on them. However they are, they're being absorbed into the body.
Jordan Schindler [00:04:41] So imagine a transdermal patch, right. Upsilon paws or a naked arm path where that skin contact is triggered and released to the body. And so what we've done that concept a step further and we put it into a washable, reusable garment. So, again, you don't have to remember to apply something. One of the biggest challenges in health and wellness is patient compliance. I mean, we're all busy. We forget to take a pill or a cream, take the kids to soccer practice or whatever it is. And so the good thing is we all get dressed every morning. You don't have to change any behavior. And that's ultimately why you're going to see better health and wellness outcomes through this new technology.
Ryan Alford [00:05:19] So you can wash this. And it still lasts 10, 15 years as you develop multiple times of that medication staying in the fabric.
Jordan Schindler [00:05:29] Typically it's 15-25 wash cycles depending on the ingredient and the dose. And so we can actually tell you exactly how many milligrams are delivered every hour you're wearing the garment. So in the same way you could with any topical analgesic, we can deliver that same topical dose that the requirement is.
Ryan Alford [00:05:48] There are limitations to the types of medicines that could be delivered this way. Or obviously, you're going to focus on some key areas, pain management, for maybe arthritis or other things. But this is the potential like in less for the could be carried through.
Jordan Schindler [00:06:09] I think we are one of the good things and bad things about our technology. That's a platform technology. So there are so many different possible applications and use cases. I think on one on one level it has to be treated topically so that people can be applied through the skin. But there's a wide variety of different ingredients and applications that fall into that category. And then the second one would be what is the right dose that you need to get? Doesn't need to be 50 milligrams or five hundred milligrams and doesn't need to last 10 washes or one hundred washes. And those are some of the parameters that we play with. But typically, any use case so far, we've been able to find an ingredient.
Ryan Alford [00:06:46] We stick to mainly over-the-counter medicines at this point, because my mind gets into the prescription area, which is both the complexity and the dollar signs that go through my head. So is it alright for now and with the potential for prescription-based stuff?
Jordan Schindler [00:07:05] So we've started with lower regulatory Odissi, your topical products. But that's not to say we haven't looked at and we'll get into more of the regulated compounds as we go forward. So, I mean, you can imagine testosterone or you can imagine caffeine. There's a wide variety of ultimate and applications that really make sense here. And all of our products are made in a GMP cleanroom. So they're all registered with the FDA. They actually have the drug tax label on the back of the product because what we're making is a drug product. And so it is very similar to delivering a cream. And in our products, for example, at Walmart, our position in the pharmacy part of the store, because that's where the value proposition is, right? You're getting that pain relief benefit coupled with a break.
Ryan Alford [00:07:50] Talk to me a little bit about that. If you don't mind the timeline of this. Like, we talked in broad strokes with the background and what got you here, what's been the timing from, when this became a viable product maybe to now?
Jordan Schindler [00:08:10] So I started this nine years ago in college, University of Washington, and it's been a 5 or 6-year development. We launched a pillowcase product for your skin as one of our early commercial products and then moved out to North Carolina four years ago to be in the heart of textile manufacturing, where we're based in Carnarvon, North Carolina, where there's almost all of us made garments are in this North Carolina, South Carolina corridor. And so that's really where our focus has shifted to heavy commercialization, regulatory. And so I would say starting last year and this year, really our first heavy commercial efforts were rolled out to Walmart and rolled out to a lot of direct e-commerce sites through our product lines.
Ryan Alford [00:08:53] I noticed doing some research on the front end that you have gotten some grants and different things like that. Can you talk a little bit about the government involvement or the interest level from outside entities and things like that?
Jordan Schindler [00:09:09] We've been very fortunate to be able to partner with some great government institutions. So we received a million-dollar grant from the Department of Defense. So you think about soldiers that are hiking 40 or 50 miles a day with heavy backpacks on. They don't want to carry extra medicine and extra weight and they're sure as hell not going to stop in the middle of a battlefield and rub cream on their foot. And so you think about military rebuilding, pain relief into a uniform or it's antifungal for different battlefield conditions or it's a stimulant to keep soldiers awake. There are so many different application areas there that it makes sense. And so the ground is really to help build and develop this technology in the US versus somewhere elsewhere a lot of other textile products are made.
Ryan Alford [00:09:52] What's that translating to by way of sort of giving the grant to develop it here to keep it in America, which is great to hear? Are you involved in active testing or anything like that directly with military products or what's that path or timeline or if you can talk about it, what's that look like?
Jordan Schindler [00:10:10] So at a high level, their focus is on the commercialization and development of new materials. So it's allowing us to scale and grow our production. So that's really where a large focus has been. And then we'll work with the military on specific products that interest them, might have a totally different use case than Army does, or then a different branch. And so there's active engagement there to figure out what are the right use cases. And then as we've seen near term, there's been a lot of engagement on the math side where we've been supplying a wide variety of different government entities.
Ryan Alford [00:10:42] Nice. Talk about the brand, Nufabrx being a little bit back to the marketing side, or did Nufabrx come from the branding and all those kind of things? Was it the toil that every other company has in these things? Or can you talk about a little bit of that side of it, the marketing and branding side?
Jordan Schindler [00:11:04] It's funny. It's definitely been an evolution. I was actually just putting together some slides from my last couple of years and some of our early names were just terrible. Like one of the first names we had was a skin ally. But people already have skin, Ali. So they thought it was like a strip club or something. This was just a total mess on the marketing side. It's radical. But so it actually started with are like fabric. So we're like prescription fabrics. And then that was taken for like a lot of new in front of it. Right. So that's how Nufabrx was born. But I think it works in the sense of if it's new prescription fabrics. Right. It's this new category that's never really existed before. But like everything else, it's certainly been an evolution.
Ryan Alford [00:11:46] How long is the transition on the e-commerce site and see, you're doing some direct-to-consumer things. Can you walk through a little bit of what that timeline when the site went up and any learnings today or just any of the nuts and bolts there on the e-commerce side?
Jordan Schindler [00:12:06] It has been blowing up. It's been a crazy evolution. So just for some context, we actually started primarily in the B2B space. So we were focused on one of the right business partnerships. And so that's actually how we started. And we've seen a lot of traction due to the PPE masks space. We launch a reusable antimicrobial mask. We used shea butter in our moisturizer. And so in response to the shortage of masks that we've seen where doctors and then identify that disposable you throw out after the use my kit, you have a mask that's washable. So we got into that business in early March and that was really our first foray into e-commerce. So it's literally been since March. But it's been crazy. I mean, so we had some great fortune to get some great press on, literally a day or two after we launched e-commerce or on Fox News and GQ and Esquire. And so we're able and a couple of months able to build bigger business e-commerce that sort of didn't exist before. So it's been a rapid evolution and bazillion mistakes made. But fix them along the way and go as fast as you can.
Ryan Alford [00:13:24] You guys on Shopify?
Jordan Schindler [00:13:26] We are, yes.
Ryan Alford [00:13:27] We're a Shopify partner. We push a lot of people there. I saw. So the first thing I check when someone comes on like if what platform? So you're on to the right one, I think for at least for most people starting out. So I mean, have you been pleased with the Shopify side of things,
Jordan Schindler [00:13:45] Shopify plus for the win? I mean, it's great for getting something up really fast. I mean, I think that's been one of the lessons for us, is like especially in a pandemic. Right. Like you got to react quickly. Like a day really does make all the difference for some of these large orders and for people that are struggling without a mask. So how fast can you get it out there? And I think it integrates really well with our fulfillment partner. So we're able to get that up and running very quickly, which has been nice.
Ryan Alford [00:14:11] What's been your primary marketing tactics going to see with maybe the mask and some of the moisturizer stuff – what's it? Is it social media? Like what's been some of your primary marketing channels for the DC stuff?
Jordan Schindler [00:14:27] Yeah, for the mask. I think a lot of it came from good PR, so we got a lot of TV media. I think I mentioned Fox News and some other publications and then yes, a lot of digital ads. So Facebook and Instagram and the mass have been especially difficult because there are so many restrictions associated with products coming in. But there's been a lot of restrictions because the market has just been flooded and in recent weeks and months. And so they're trying to do some regulation there. So I think it's been a combination of all of that. And then on the facility; moisturizers and face masks. So we did a lot of influencers. So did it influencer combo with medical practices. So we launched through dermatology clinics and plastic surgery offices and really a couple of those two things. We did a nationwide launch where we sent out influencer boxes, where they all did a big reveal at the same time in different time zones across the country.
Ryan Alford [00:15:23] Was that successful?
Jordan Schindler [00:15:24] It was, absolutely. I mean, I think we got 40 or 50 impressions on the first day. So it was a great way. Associates everyone sitting in their house. Like there's not a lot of captivity going on. Set me free for all right. I'll open it on social media, but I think it was a good way to capitalize. I think some marketing has changed right before. You might have had a big event and had a bunch of people and tried to promote it that way. But it's certainly more difficult now.
Ryan Alford [00:15:55] You talked about the relationship with Walmart and how that originated and where that's headed in the long term.
Jordan Schindler [00:16:05] We launched a product, a new product, a new brand in March 2020 probably the worst time in history to launch a new retail product as no one is going into retail stores. But it's actually been a very good relationship. So I went down to Bentonville last year and met with the buyer. And I mean, in two minutes he goes, I get it. There's this huge correlation between people buying, buying pain creams and braces. Why not put the two together? It's more convenient and it's cheaper and you don't need two different packaging. And so they were all about it. And they actually didn't even do a test. They just said we're going to roll this. Out nationwide, so forty-four hundred stores and there we're fortunate to have such a great partner and Wal-Mart, where they want to be upfront and they want to be involved in any new technology and development. So, yes, this year has been, I think, crazy for everybody. But in general, we've seen a very good response to our products. And we'll hopefully be rolling out additional Skewes next year through Wal-Mart.
Ryan Alford [00:17:08] You talking to anyone that you can name, any other distribution points or channels? I mean, is Amazon or are you exploring or already in any other channels?
Jordan Schindler [00:17:20] So we're just getting into Amazon a little bit. And on the D2C side, we're trying to push back to our website so we can only use our data on the traffic.
Ryan Alford [00:17:29] There you go! I'm going to do that as a marker for where to do a highlight spiel, because so many people we work with are so reliant on Amazon on the front end, they don't start to see and there is no customer data. They have no customer relationship. You win the prize of the day, you win. We'll send you a Radcast tumbler.
Jordan Schindler [00:17:58] So for us it's been important, especially as we're launching a new e-commerce site to own all the customer data because we see ourselves as a platform technology. So the same person that wants to buy a moisturizing mask also is going to want to buy a pain relief stock potentially or a moisturizing anti-stretchmarks Bellyband. Like we can capture every different garment type with different use cases. So there are so many different medications or treatments that people can take. And we need to own that customer data because all of those people could be charged customers for us down the road. And so you really don't get any of that with Amazon and other e-commerce sales, right? It's a one-time sale, pretty much. You hardly even get their email address. And so for us, our focus has been first on building our website where we can go back and retarget consumers. We can use them for survey data, but it's just a much better option for us.
Ryan Alford [00:18:48] Any other brands? We've got Walmart, but any other discussions with anyone? You can discuss the arguments.
Jordan Schindler [00:18:59] We're working with one of the other large pharmacy retailers as a potential new distribution point. We're also working with a couple of large medical distribution groups. So we're talking about selling products directly through doctors' offices and clinics where you might have the Walmart version and then you have a higher-end or we call it extra strength. Right. Product in some of these doctors' offices. And so we have the ability to tailor the overall dose that goes into a garment. So like a bottle of aspirin. You might have the twenty pills and then you might have the 50 pills, extra strength. And so we're able to do that in the same way through government types and that allows us to differentiate through different retail channels.
Ryan Alford [00:19:37] We've talked about it broadly like where things are headed and we talk about prescription and all that, but I get the health and wellness tie and all that, but is there any other than your own experience, are you guys grounded in any other ethos as a company or things that you're getting behind, maybe with everything going on? Or are those things? Is there any other brand ethos or beliefs or partnerships or things like that that would be of note?
Jordan Schindler [00:20:14] So I think everything ties back to our desire to simplify health and wellness. So in a similar vein, from personal experience, my grandpa, unfortunately, suffered from Alzheimer's and so can remember to take his medications every day. But interestingly, he still puts on a sock in the morning. And so it's applications like that that we truly find really compelling that can help people. And in the same way, on the people's side, if you got into this business because we got a request from our local elderly care facilities, police, fire workers, that we don't have a mask, can you make a mask like a product we never made before. And so we ended up just starting off and making them and donating a bunch of masks and donating 25 or 30 thousand masks so far. And recently we partnered with a couple of programs that are getting kids back to school to provide them with really discounted masks. So for us, we absolutely want to help our local community. We want to help support whoever we can, and that's through every product that we make. Yes, we're a business. We're here to make money and grow, but rather to make products that actually hurt you and help people. Whether it's a product for pain relief that makes someone's life, less painful. Whether it's a belly band for stretch marks, that's going to help someone feel more comfortable or confident in their body. This applies to every product that we make.
Ryan Alford [00:21:34] You're running a company, you're a young entrepreneur. You're living the entrepreneur life. Walk us through, people that listen to the podcast or either already entrepreneurs and can relate or fledging hoping to be entrepreneurs, maybe both. What's a normal week looks like for Jordan?
Jordan Schindler [00:22:00] I don't know if there is a normal week. I think that's one of the fun things. And I really enjoy being an entrepreneur. It is just the ups and the downs and all the learning side. Every day is totally different. One day I'm working on H.R. because apparently, we need that now…
Ryan Alford [00:22:14] How many people do you have?
Jordan Schindler [00:22:17] We are a team of 30 now. But we were at seven sixty days ago, so been growing like crazy. So whether it's working on H.R. or talking to our tax people or it's a different month and accounting. To me, the exciting thing about entrepreneurship is you get an education, all of these different things. And it's not just a very routine. Every day I go to work from 9:00 to 5:00 and I'm doing this, this and this. So some days I'm at the office from six till 10:00 p.m. Sometimes I'm working from home and hanging out and traveling and talking to our people. So trying to stay very grounded and focused more on strategic vision and high-level strategy as we continue to grow in scale. And I think it's a cross between execution, making sure our team has the direction it needs to and then continue to grow and build my skill set as a leader.
Ryan Alford [00:23:16] Like, you obviously have there's so much potential here with Nufabrx. Plus, I also know about the amount of knowledge you have of the industry and beyond. Do you see yourself being a serial entrepreneur, we're going to take it to the mountaintop and see where, like, are we going to not necessarily get bored, but it's always going to be your baby. But you see yourself getting involved in different things?
Jordan Schindler [00:23:56] I'm having so much fun with this on. And I feel like this in a nutshell, is being a serial entrepreneur. Because like a painterly sock is so different from, like anti-satellite yoga pants or a headband that kills fleas and takes that. I mean, I think we have a fantastic opportunity as a platform technology to build so many different products for different markets. So I think in a nutshell, it's the best of both worlds because you got to focus on different audiences, different products, and continue to build and grow that same health care vision that we're trying to create. So I love it. And so to see this continued for as long as I get the opportunity to keep doing this.
Ryan Alford [00:24:33] Is there a specific content strategy for you guys? Like I mean, again, back to that, the wide swath that you just described. How do you guys think about content development and is that a pillar that's a focus right now?
Jordan Schindler [00:25:00] I think content is so important, especially as we're continuing to try to grow our e-commerce site and attract consumers, so we think a lot about who is our consumers and how they flow into our next product lines. And it does the same person want a moisturizing mask, want pain relief socks or do they want yoga pants with a moisturizer? And so I think we spend a lot of time figuring out what our content should be for specific target customers. And I think on one level, it's probably a little more difficult even for us, because our customer, in the same vein, might be a six-year-old male and might also be a 20-year-old female. And so because we have so many different product types, you have to be very thoughtful about how we're approaching our content for everything that we do.
Ryan Alford [00:25:45] Any advice, now you're nine years into it, the trajectory going on hold it levels and even the last 60 days. But any advice out there for people that are again, climbing the mountain themselves or just learnings that you've had? And I know you're still in the middle of it. We're learning every day as well. I know that drill. But any pitfalls to avoid or words of wisdom at this stage?
Jordan Schindler [00:26:20] I think one of the biggest things for me is perseverance and making sure you love what you do. I think obviously hard work and right time, the right place is important, but I think it's having that drive and love of what you do that really pushes things forward. So, I mean, for me, I think about it, it doesn't feel like work. And that's it allows me to work and execute till 10:00 or 11:00 at night every night. And I'm just having fun. And I feel so blessed that I sort of have that and found that. And I think that that's critical for success for any entrepreneur because otherwise, I don't think you'll make it. I mean, there are so many highs and lows, and I think that's true for any entrepreneur. Right. One day you're selling 10 million units. The next day you're going to shoot. Right. Like it is totally off the ground. So I think you just have to have that love of what you're doing that allows you to keep waking up every morning excited. Monday morning is my favorite time of the week. I want to see what's going on, check some emails. And like that to me is but what keeps me going? And then and then I think the second one is to always keep learning. So I can't tell you how many. I have a two-hour commute, which I actually really appreciate because it's a great time for audiobooks. So I just throw on an audiobook. I listen to books and educate yourself. That's how I've even the book didn't directly tell me something that could spark something else in my mind, which has allowed me to continue to grow and improve as a leader. So I think it always just continues to learn and keep growing. It's critical.
Ryan Alford [00:27:50] Love it. Two big ones on my list. What they're saying says if you love what you do, you never worked a day in your life.
Jordan Schindler [00:27:58] I love it. Couldn't agree. Couldn't agree more with that one. It's so true.
Ryan Alford [00:28:03] Real pleasure having you on, Jordan. I think I could talk to you for a couple of hours. My Mind swim's a bit around all the avenues you guys are doing, but I know both just the insights of growing the e-commerce business, the B2B side, and just the overall interest and fascination in medicine and fabric. You're crushing it. I really appreciate you coming on.
Jordan Schindler [00:28:49] Yeah, thanks for having me. It's been great. And I'll continue to follow you guys because you can never have enough learning on marketing and e-commerce site. It's ever-evolving.
Ryan Alford [00:28:56] So pretty good series going very good wide guests. Yes, they'll definitely be some learnings. If you need to go check out our previous episode with Sean Weland, a real, intense guy. It was our last episode, but super transparent talks about personal branding and how it's grown, his brand and things like that, which, there's some story there for you as well. But I would definitely look forward to staying in touch with you. And, keep on being you and let's just make the world better.
Jordan Schindler [00:29:30] Keep shopping and we'll keep it Radical. Thank you,
Ryan Alford [00:29:33] Appreciate it so much as this. And that's another edition of the Radcast. Really appreciate Jordan Schindler coming on. Founder and CEO of Nufabrx. You can learn more about Nufabrx at Nufabrx.com. That's Nufabrx. And as always, you can follow along with all the news and all the latest at theRadcast.com or follow us on Instagram at the.rad.cast. We look forward to seeing you next time. Stay tuned for all the latest and more in the ecommerce series. Lots more to come. We'll see you next time.