All Businesses Have Bugs – Not All Have A Ladybug House
Most entrepreneurs share the ability to apply themselves relentlessly, but the projects they channel their energies into are as varied as the creatures that inhabit the planet. John Pavon is an artist, naturalist, soft ball coach, photographer, Red Cross volunteer, engineer, inventor, and business owner. As you’ll find out, he might want to add weight-loss guru to the list of his vocations.
Pavon’s latest project is The Best LadyBug House. Yes, the product offers a home for everyone’s favorite, lucky coccinellid. There’s also a game to play, links to a blog on the history of the ladybug, cartoons, radio interviews, articles, and more. The Best Lady Bug House is but one product from the four divisions of John’s Arts and Crafts. Pavon’s business might tickle your ecological or financial fancy. In this interview with KillerStartups, his spirit and creativity certainly nurture the startup environment.
How’d you come up with the name for your company?
I did some research on Marketing and Domain names and a found that if you can incorporate or combine both the name with marketing that people will remember your name. There are a number of other manufacturers making and selling ladybug houses, but all do not have two years of research behind their product. Everything a Ladybug could need or want is put into this design, trial and error tested. Hence, The Best LadyBug House. I’ve been in business since 2007. I’ve not received one complaint that these do not work.
What’s the very first thing you do at work everyday?
Check my emails, Check my calendar, schedules, phone messages.
How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?
Just me, myself and I. I ran into Ali Liptrot, my promoter, at a festival and she came on board.
Remember the early days starting up? Maybe you can share one anecdote that describes the struggle you went through?
We were given access to TV advertising right off the bat: 6 minutes shot by Kron 4 TV for a 2 minute spot on the famous Henry Garden weekend show. But at the last minute, the producer was outvoted by the upper manager and my pre-shot 2 min. air slot was pulled for a big money advertiser? Even the Host Henry from Henry was sorry and disappointed. They still have my six minutes of film but now want $6K to get it?
How do you handle frustration?
I handle frustration with solutions and stress relief riding bike, walking, swimming.
When/how was the last time you dealt with frustration?
It’s a learning process. Each one [frustration] is a challenge, but you figure things out eventually.
What’s your office environment like? Is it a place shakin’ with house music or is it more traditional?
I work out of my home office and my storage facility. I am often out in the field checking on my eight retail locations–changing batteries, cleaning dust off POS displays, etc. I often play the radio (I’m currently listening to KUIC 95.5 FM. They play 80’s music and newer hits).
How do you picture your company in 5 years?
I see more retail outlets. More help on the way? I would love to get a location nearby that would be perfect as both an office and a factory location.
Who or what inspires YOU?
Isaac Asimov, Sinclair, too many to list.
My uncle Ray
Mario Brothers, Pong, Packman, older games.
I usually do not eat snacks. Maybe fresh fruit, apples, oranges…
How’d you fund this venture? VC? Self-funding? Crowd-funded?
I have spent my own money on this project and others so far. I am looking into crowd-funding.
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
Yes, my past secretary Mary Weins is the author of a book called Bootstrap Your Way to a Successful Business.
What would you be doing if you had one year off and $500,000 to spend (and you couldn’t spend it on your current startup / projects)?
You dreaming? Time to get back down to earth!
Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur right now? If not, what’s it gonna take to make you feel successful?
Yes, small but successful. Funding would help. The economy doing better!
Website you couldn’t live without and why?
Craigslist–I manage to get help, supplies, and business from there.
Dogs or cats?
I love both dogs and cats but currently have none.
iOS or Android?
I have none of the above.
What’s the greatest thing about your company/website/idea?
It is needed for our survival as a human race! Because of the toxic stew in both our city and well waters. Encourage people to go organic. The solution is to keep pesticides out of the picture and we will survive.
Where can our readers get a hold of you? Facebook? Twitter? Google+? Personal blog? Any other projects you’re working on that we should check out?
Contact pages on all four websites. Facebook. Twitter: I’m listed as Laisseraller, which is French for letting go or unfolding.
I am writing three books (almost complete). I maintain a business with four divisions–Education, Arts & Crafts, Green, and Interactive. I am looking for funding / investors to start a new business selling my newest invention…
What do you wish I had asked you? Ask yourself and respond.
Are you losing weight? Yes. I have lost 65 lbs in the last six months by eating one meal per day and drinking a no salt, no sugar, grapefruit drink–exercising, and walking a mile per day. I just started a senior bike club. We had our first ride and I survived.