This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Jordan Schindler. Jordan is changing the game and leading and inventing a whole new category of clothing, Healthware. He is the founder and CEO of Nufabrix, the #1 fastest growing company in the region as named by Charlotte Business Journal, the Deloitte Fast 500 #2 Fastest Growing Pharmaceutical Company in North America, and INC. 5000 #50 Fastest Growing Company in America. If that’s not enough, Jordan was also a 2021 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist.
I love seeing entrepreneurs break through and create entirely new markets, true blue oceans and that is what Jordan is doing with Healthware. I’m excited for him to share his journey and lessons he’s learned on how to build a whole new market and succeed.
Jordan has been an entrepreneur since he was a kid doing all kinds of things in Tucson, Arizona. He took a trip with his parents to China where he came across an MP3 player market and convinced his parents to let him buy 10 and bring them back to sell on eBay. This turned into a passion project in early High School.
He went to school in Seattle and after working around the area moved to North Carolina founding Nufabrix.
Tell us about the product and what you are doing with it and how you are creating new markets…
- He started Nufabrix to solve a personal problem. He had bad acne in college and learned about the link between your pillow case and bad skin where as you sleep dirt and oil builds up clogging pores.
- The dermatologist recommended to wash his pillow case 2-3 times per week which seemed a little ridiculous.
- It got him thinking about how it may be possible to deliver medication through fabrics with their skin touchpoint. With this, the idea for Nufabrix was born.
- The idea that instead of having to take a pill or put on a patch, what if you just had to get dressed in the morning and your clothing delivered a controlled release of medication or nutritional supplements, was intriguing and possible.
- At 7-minute market, Jordan talks more about the product line and its possibilities.
How do you get medication or supplements into the fabrics?
- It is like a transdermal patch.
- They took an active ingredient and invented a way to embed it into yarn.
- It can last through a number of washes and then the fabrics can be recycled.
You grew tremendously during the pandemic, what happened to cause this grow and how have you kept it going?
- They found a niche to help with PPE and facemasks in the pandemic. They converted one of their machines to make facemasks and had the facility to test and meet requirements onsite.
- They were one of the only suppliers that could meet demand on the timelines needed. In fact, the US Govt sent 3 Blackhawk helicopters to their facility to pick up 250,000 masks.
- They ended up being one of top 5 biggest producers of masks in the country with 6 employees!
What lessons did you take from the experience?
- “Next man up.” You never know when you can fill a need and your ability to meet a need quickly is where you can outcompete.
- The power of being willing to innovate.
- It was also a great lesson in making a decision and then taking action when an opportunity presents itself.
- It was also finding a way to help that leads to opportunity.
At the 17 min mark, we have a discussion about how we found ways to succeed in our businesses during the pandemic.
What’s your advice to go from idea to action and execution?
- Swim to the next buoy. Even if you take one small action, it can make a big difference.
- You do this enough and the world looks a lot different.
- There is something to be said about having some ignorance going into an idea. If you don’t know how hard it is, you are more likely to give it a shot and succeed.
- Focus on the things that are really going to make the most difference. What are the 1-2 or 3 things that if you just did those make the most difference in moving the needle.
At the 29 min mark, we talk about Stoicism and focusing on only what we can control.
Talk to us about raising money and what is like to keep up with the growth…
- They have taken a few rounds.
- A decent investment came from the Department of Defense.
- They went out and found the right individuals to help accelerate growth like family offices, angels, etc. in areas like pro-sports teams and former Walmart execs, etc. that had the knowledge and experience and can help them.
- It is important to stay true to what matters and build a business that can scale. If you need to take on investment to do so, do it, but do it smart and in a calculated way.
Anything you learned from securing investors that others should know?
- Treat an investor like a customer.
- Investors are consumers like anyone else and if they can themselves consuming your product, they are more likely to invest.
- Open communication is also very important. Don’t be afraid to overcommunicate.
Best advice for an entrepreneur just starting out?
- Learn and don’t re-invent the wheel.
- Get a mentor or advisor.
- Most everything you want to do or the challenges you have are not new and others have gone through them. Learn from them.
- Groups like Entrepreneur’s Organization are helpful as well.
Best Quote: “Next man up.” You never know when you can fill a need and your ability to meet a need quickly is where you can outcompete.
Jordan's Misfit 3:
- Think of business like a conveyor belt of problems, challenges, and opportunities that keep coming at you. Pick up each challenge or problem or opportunity and put it on the conveyor belt. Each time you do this, you make progress.
- All you can control is your reaction and your response. Don’t focus on things you cannot change or have an impact on.
- As your company grows, you role must change, so take time regularly to assess what your role should be to ensure the company is on the right path.
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