What makes a family business successful? A transcript of Slate’s Working Podcast conversation with Monica and Kicker Kalozdi.

How to Manufacture a Product in America: Working Podcast Transcript

How to Manufacture a Product in America: Working Podcast Transcript

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April 13 2015 5:15 PM

The “How Does a Family Business Work?” Transcript

Read what Adam Davidson asked a mother-and-son duo about making neckerchews and potty seats.

Monica and Kicker Kalozdi.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Adam Davidson.

We’re posting weekly transcripts of Season 2 of Slate’s Working podcast for Slate Plus members. This season’s host is Adam Davidson, the co-founder and host of NPR’s Planet Money podcast. What follows is the transcript for Episode 5, which features Monica and Kicker Kalozdi, operators of Kalencom Corp., a New Orleans-based manufacturer and distributor. To learn more about Working, click here.

In addition to the transcripts, we’ve added some other Slate Plus perks for Season 2 of Working. The members-only version of each podcast will feature a short Slate Plus extra, and we’re also allowing members early access to the podcast—look for it to publish on Sundays. The nonmember version will publish on Mondays.

You may note some differences between this transcript and the podcast. Additional edits were made to the podcast after we completed this transcript.

Adam Davidson: What’s name and what do you do?

Monica Kalozdi: Hi, I’m Monica Kalozdi. I run a do-it-all family company.

Davidson: OK.

Kicker Kalozdi: Hi, my name is Kicker Kalozdi. I am her son, and I don't know, I just do whatever she tells me to do.

Davidson: Got you. And Kicker is your real name?

Kicker Kalozdi: You know, it's as official as it gets.

Davidson: Great. So, the company is called—

Monica Kalozdi: The company is called Kalencom Corporation, and we have been in New Orleans over 40 years. And it was started by my husband, who’s a Hungarian. And I’ve been with him for about 38 years. And I’m half-German, half-American, and my kids are all Cajuns.

Kicker Kalozdi: [Laughs] I don't think I’m Cajun. I mean, my mom’s German Jew, my dad’s Hungarian, and I was born here, but I’m not—definitely not Cajun. We’re a unique dynamic. We’re the weird ones on the block, you know? People look at us down here in New Orleans, where are you from? Why does your mom sound funny? Why is she angry? No, she’s not angry, she’s just German.

Davidson: Great. So, the way I got to know you guys is, I was traveling to New Orleans, I got my son an awesome port-a-potty that works both on the toilet and then also as a standalone unit. And I saw that you were in New Orleans. And I thought, oh wow, I’m going to be in New Orleans. So, I called up and you guys invited me.

So, I know you as a manufacturer of a really awesome children’s potty. But I’ve walked here now and I see you do a lot more. So, just explain—I want a quick overview of your businesses.

Monica Kalozdi: So, really, we have several divisions. One division is a jewelry packaging division. So, we do—we make jewelry pouches and boxes for a lot of big jewelers and big department stores across the country. We have another division, Kalencom, which is one of the oldest divisions, which is diaper bags and baby items.

Kicker Kalozdi: Like the potty you were talking about.

Monica Kalozdi: The Potette, which is our Potette Plus, is part of that division. And then we have another division called Hadaki, which is named after the three kids, Hannah, David, and Kicker, and that is our newest division. It's a lifestyle division, from travel items, bags, luggage, to cosmetic items.

And our newest division, DamnDog.

Kicker Kalozdi: Yeah, so, I love my mom but she’s had me selling diaper bags and pretty pink bags for way too long now. So, I started to lose all masculinity, so I decided to create the DamnDog line with her approval, which is kind of our masculine men’s leather-buffalo-canvas, you know, just a tough, rugged kind of cool, macho bag line, which I’m really proud of.

Davidson: Are those—

Kicker Kalozdi: Yeah.

Davidson: Oh, those are really nice.

Kicker Kalozdi: Yeah, if you feel the handle, it's nice thick buffalo leather. And it's kind of sold well in Brooklyn and the Austins and San Franciscos of the U.S. But it was really just a spinoff of the bigger company. I mean, my parents started—my dad started on his motorcycle driving around the French Quarter selling little knickknacks and pouches. And then my mother married him, and they grew the company to one level, and now me being the next generation I’m trying to grow it to a whole other level.

Davidson: Great. So, let’s—and over the course of the conversation we’ll get at all the lines—but what do you do all day? What did you today?

Monica Kalozdi: So, a perfect day for me is solving problems. I would consider, my main job is solving problems. So, a problem with—I come in and I’ve found out that part of my full leather collection is not showing up for photo shoots that [are] next week, and the company disappeared on me overnight.

Davidson: The manufacturer?

Monica Kalozdi: The manufacturer. Disappeared. Fortunately it was a very small percentage I had given him, so problem solved.

So, then working on the website, looking over, viewing the website, and finding that there are tons of problems. So, you spend two hours going over, problem-solving, developing a better website.

And then I will be working on my Spring 2015 line, so, designing, coordinating, you know–

Davidson: And which line is that? What products?

Monica Kalozdi: I’m working on that one, on my Hidaki line for 2016’s spring line. I’m finalizing the artwork.

Davidson: And what will those be, what kind of products?

Monica Kalozdi: So, that will be all the way from luggage, cosmetics, toiletries, and leather handbags.

Davidson: And do you design everything?

Monica Kalozdi: I design everything with a lot of input from good people around.

Davidson: Great, and what's your typical day? Like, how are you spending today?

Kicker Kalozdi: Well, there's a lot of napping involved and snacking, and walks around the park.

And I’m only slightly joking. I’m from a very open-minded school of working, you know, so I believe that you need to put your mind at ease. But it can be—you know, before you can really focus on work, which destroys the concept that my mother’s got, which is a very hardworking, serious, Germanic way. And you know what, she pays the bills, so her way is obviously correct. I’m trying to learn from her constantly. I don't want to say the “older generation” because she’s looking right at me, but the older generation works a lot harder than people my age.

Davidson: So, what do you literally do all day?

Kicker Kalozdi: Okay, so, I come to the office and I handle international sales and distribution, as well as marketing and design and whatever else needs to get done. I mean, two weeks ago I was working in the warehouse unloading a truck. Today I was on the phone talking with my U.K. sales rep. And maybe I’ll be emailing Japan or having to put a special seal on something going to the Ukraine.

There are so many different little things that have to get done when you're a small business, because you don’t have a job that is narrowly defined. You have to kind of just do what is responsible—what is necessary for that day. So, we always say in this business, you don’t wear one hat, you wear many hats.

Davidson: Is Kicker right that he drives you a little crazy by not working as hard as you do?

Monica Kalozdi: Kicker is right, but it's not only Kicker, it's the whole new generation.

It's the young generation, that they want their cake and eat it also. They don’t want to work as hard but they want the good life, and that’s not Kicker, that's the whole new generation. I mean, I’m in my office by 7 o’clock in the morning and many times I don't leave until past 6 o’clock, and I don't even take a lunch break.

The new generation does not want to work like that.

Davidson: No, I don’t!

Kicker Kalozdi: No, but you know, I—I’m 29, I’m always learning—I thought school ended when I got my MBA. School began when I started learning from my parents. They are the best teachers. I don't want to, you know, downplay the role that my education did have, but my real education was here in the office learning from them. Not only the basic principles of how to interact with different customers and clients and how to make a sales pitch, but more importantly how to work hard. Because even in school, yeah, I worked hard in school, but when you see your mom beat you to the office and leave the office after you, it kind of makes you realize, wow, that's what real work is.

Davidson: I want to ask you about creating products.

So, one thing I noticed right away with Kalencom, I’ve studied a lot of American manufacturers who are confronted with the challenge of an increasingly global world. It seems to me the folks who have the hardest time and are probably almost entirely gone are those manufacturers that had a very narrow line of products that were commoditized, that were, you know, injected mold plastic or whatever, that were fairly basic products that were very easy for China to reproduce in a low-cost way.

And what I notice with what you've described is, you guys have a very broad array, an almost bewilderingly broad array of products, and they all seem to be focused on value-added, reaching really specific market segments. So, can you talk about—not in a theoretical way, but in a pragmatic way—how do you figure out what products to create, what markets to go after?

Monica Kalozdi: So, many times it's luck that you fall into stuff, but yes, you're totally right. We’re looking for niche markets. We’re not looking to be a commodity, because somebody will always manufacturer it cheaper for us. So, we’re looking for quality, we’re looking to offer our customers true meaning to products, a reason to have them. So, true features, true quality, and niche items.

Davidson: But what do you do? Like, what—you were talking about designing your 2016 line—how—do you sit at a table and draw? Do you go to schools and look at what competitors are doing? What specifically do you do for—to design new products?

Monica Kalozdi: I talk to the customers. That's my first line, find out what they’re looking for, what do they need?

Davidson: Who are your customers?

Monica Kalozdi: From mom-and-pop shops to chains. It's across the board. Middle price to higher price point.

Davidson: Like, Target on up?

Monica Kalozdi: Target on up, exactly. We definitely—we’re not a commodity, we’re not looking to compete with Walmart items. That's not who we are.

Kicker Kalozdi: So, the other thing is, we don’t try to necessarily target the mass, we target the boutique shops, you know, the little Manhattan SoHo shops, you know, the little shops that are independently run. That's how we can really compete, is that our customer base doesn’t want to have—the stores, when I mean the customer base—don’t want to have the same product that you can find anywhere else.

And then of course, the product she’s designing is not going to appeal to everyone, but it's going to appeal for the confident consumer that's looking for something distinct.

Davidson: So, walk me through surveying your customers. Is that—like, do you do that every day? Do you have a call sheet? How do you talk to those customers?

Monica Kalozdi: No, I go to a lot of trade shows. My main way of communicating, I go personally to most trade shows.

Davidson: Which trades shows?

Monica Kalozdi: Like, we go to the New York Gift Show, we go to the Atlanta Gift Show, Dallas, we go to trade shows in Europe, Frankfurt, in London. So, we have a great variety of both accessories and gift shows.

And talking to the customer, what do you need?

I had a customer who came in and said a long time ago, oh—that's in 2008, the economy was crashing—people are taking their lunch to work more and more. We need lunch bags. And I listened; I brought them out. Our lunch bags were the most successful item for several years, and that was being there and listening to the customer and what they are looking for.

Last year I had a customer home by and showed me this beautiful bib. It was unique. It had a teether attached. She said—

Davidson: It had a what attached?

Monica Kalozdi: A teether, it's when—

Kicker Kalozdi: A teether is the—

Davidson: Oh, a teether, yes.

Monica Kalozdi: So, when the babies are chewing. It's a unique item created by two Scottish women, and she said, “Monica, we need distribution in the U.S.” That's not something I normally do, but I looked at the item and I said, this is clever, this is unique, this is niche-y, this is what I want. I flew back to Scotland the next month, settled the deal, and it won already all the awards in the U.S. and it's flying.

Davidson: So, t sounds like it's, I want to say, sort of informal. I mean, I’m assuming that Target buyers or Proctor & Gamble, I mean, their process involves lots of focus groups, lots of big surveys, and you, a lot of this is just your gut sense based on the information you're getting?

Monica Kalozdi: Absolutely. This is a small company. We—it's 99 percent gut feeling, working from your hip pocket. You're always studying money. You always have to pay your bills. You're always rushing from one side to the other. You're always doing a hundred jobs at the same time. We’re not working in a box. We don’t have one job specification. We have to do whatever has to be done to keep a customer happy. The customer is king. We do whatever has to be done to get the job done.

Kicker Kalozdi: And one of our big advantages as a small company, as a small family-run company, is that because we all wear many hats and because we don’t have these levels of corporate structure, I guess, is that we have no red tape. So, we move extremely fast.

But we can make it very, very quickly and efficiently, and we don’t have to go through all those—that lengthy focus process. Now, yes, sometimes we’re wrong, and trust me we’ve been wrong before. But—

Davidson: What are some of the worst ideas you've had, or the least successful?

Kicker Kalozdi: I mean, can I say some of these?

Monica Kalozdi: Sure.

Kicker Kalozdi: So, we noticed that there was a need for a men’s line. This was a couple of years back, and my mom asked me to design it. But then she took a lot of my designs, and then we edited it to try and fit in with our girl’s line. But you can’t have a men’s line that's masculine and have a lot of elements from the girl’s line. They just didn’t—

Davidson: Like, what kind of elements?

Kicker Kalozdi: I don't want to offend some people because some people might think it's masculine, but we had a tough body shape of a bag, but then it had this really feminine print on the inside of it, the lining. So, you'd get this, you know, aggressive­—

Davidson: Your mom is shaking her head.

Monica Kalozdi: No, I don't think that—that actually did well.

Kicker Kalozdi: [laughs] We still have the inventory downstairs that we’re trying to clear out. Check it on eBay right now.

Monica Kalozdi: No, I say the biggest mistake that I think we’re moving out of is trying to be forward with tech-y, because we’re too small to be able to move fast enough with the world of the tech. And that I’ve learned we cannot do that.

Kicker Kalozdi: What she means is that, we used to make, you know, iPhone cases and iPad, you know, bags and all those things, but it's too difficult, it's too hard to keep up with them. We still have Kindle cases lying around, you know?

Davidson: So, you guys—you wear a lot of hats, the two of you, but then the company wears a lot of hats. You manufacture, you oversee actual manufacturing, and then you also have contract manufacturers, right? Mostly in China?

Monica Kalozdi: Well, we were manufacturers. Up to 20 years ago, we had many, many hundreds of sewers here and we used to manufacture—

Davidson: Sewers, people sewing?

Monica Kalozdi: Sewers, and we stood to cut and sew here, and we still have sewers in this building. So, we actually still are a U.S. manufacturer and we hope to bring some back. But I learned when I first started, I learned to cut and sew and I still have the scars to show it, and I still—when I go overseas now to China, I teach them how to do it and how to set the patterns.

Davidson: How do you oversee manufacturing in a country so far away? Do you have to go there several times a year? How do you make sure they do it right?

Monica Kalozdi: OK, we travel two to three times to visit a factory, and we do not—this is a big difference we do—we do not search for new factories overseas constantly, who’s going to get the best price. Because then that's when you get really messed up with quality.

So, we’ve been working with the same factory oversees for over 20 years, so it's a matter of trust in a relationship that we have built up. We’ve taught them what we’re looking for and we give them most of our business. It's a big portion of their business so we’re important, and it's working hand-in-hand very close together.

Kicker Kalozdi: And, like she was saying, she has sewed herself. And my mom has luckily taught me that, so our quality control, we know what we’re looking for to make a quality bag.

I mean, we can tell when a bag, when shortcuts were used to make a bag. And the big thing for us is that we don’t shop around for the cheapest price. Most people, most of our competitors, they’ll go overseas, you know, the big companies, with a sample. They’ll have the sample made somewhere, maybe domestically, and say, “Who can make this at the cheapest price?” And it's almost an auction. Boom, it's gone.

Davidson: And walk me through how you choose whether to manufacture it here or overseas, just some of the—how that choice works. And I should tell you, I have written on this topic many times. I’m very sympathetic and understanding of the decision. It's a real-world business decision. I just genuinely find it fascinating to understand—how do you think that through?

Monica Kalozdi: OK, so, there are two essential pieces to it. The more complicated the product, the more expensive it is going to be to manufacture. We simply not compete domestically. When we were manufacturing everything 20 years ago you had accessibility to the raw materials, to the zippers and to all the little pieces, very easy. Nowadays when I try to manufacture something domestically, yes, to order zippers I have to wait 60 days because they’re making them in China, and I have to wait until they’re delivered to me here.

But for a small company like ourselves, we’re in fashion, we’re changing our line continuously, and we need many different prints and colors. It's almost impossible to manufacture that in the U.S.

So, the only thing we manufacturer in the U.S. are now simple items, canvas bags that we can bring in, it's a basic color, it's easily available, I do not have to custom-make for myself.

Kicker Kalozdi: No hardware.

Monica Kalozdi: No hardware, exactly.

Davidson: You mean like, the buttons—

Kicker Kalozdi: Hardware means buttons, snaps, zippers, anything that's not fabric usually is considered hardware. And in the U.S. we don’t—that's not made anymore. So like she was saying, we have to bring it in from China. And so, that's already adding time and cost to our expense. So, anything with hardware we really can’t make in the U.S. efficiently.

Davidson: Something—your stuff is really beautiful—like, this is a very—I’m holding up a kid’s potty.

Kicker Kalozdi: It's a beautiful potty! [Laughter]

Davidson: I have a 3-year-old, so I have several potties, and this is a really elegant one. You know, there are others that I have that are very functional, kind of blah. I mean, this looks really pretty. If I just saw it, I wouldn't even know—and then I really like your bag, the men’s bag. I would love one of those. I’m not asking for a bribe, I can’t take a bribe, but they’re really elegant.

I’m looking over there at your jewelry boxes—are simple but there's an elegance to them.

Kicker Kalozdi: So, you might—I’m sure you might recognize a few of those boxes.

Davidson: Yeah, and you've asked me not to say who you make jewelry boxes for, but I will say I know many of those names. Those are very top names. There's even a color that I notice.

Do you guys really do all that? You know how to do that? Or do you hire professional designers to take your ideas and—

Monica Kalozdi: No, no. We do it all. My husband, when he started, he started making little girls’ denim bags, when denim was the thing to have and it was very hard to get, and he had his source to get denim, and he started selling little denim bags. And then tote bags in the French Quarter.

So, over the years we have learned—Kicker has learned now about mens’ bags and studied them and developed them—and the same thing with Hidaki.

The potty, which is fantastic, our Potette, that was invented by a U.K. man. And then we brought it in as a distributor and then changed the colors, from a basic white ugly-looking or flesh-colored potty. We said, “This is for toddlers. Let’s add the colors.”

So, the Potette Plus, now we own the company outright. He’s retired. And we’ve developed it even further.

Davidson: The other question I have is, there was an idea I feel like was hot a few years ago, that companies have to know their core product and outsource everything else. But it's hard for me to figure out, what is your core thing? Because you do so many different things. But it's almost like your core thing is doing lots of different things?

Kicker Kalozdi: Well, I mean, there's all—I mean, OK, so, you've got to diversify yourself as a business. I mean, with the economy changing constantly we’ve had to spread ourselves thin. And by having products in such wide industry ranges—you know, from jewelry bag, to toddler, to men’s accessories—it's really helped us stay afloat through these past 40-something years.

Monica Kalozdi: But each division has a core to it. So, the packaging division that my husband leads definitely has the core, the core particle boxes we do.

Davidson: Yeah, I’m looking—clearly if I want elegant, simple boxes for jewelry, I’m looking at your collection. You clearly are a master at that.

Monica Kalozdi: And it's all custom. We don’t carry any stock. We’re experts—my husband knows that business backwards and forwards.

The juvenile division, which is the Kalencom division, we were the first ones to make machine-washable and dryable diaper bags. We actually developed the diaper bag as a category. It didn’t exist before.

Davidson: So, this has been awesome, but I want to get more, just day-to-day.

Because it's fascinating to me how many different levels you have to think on. You have to think about next year and what fashions and items people will want in a year, but you also have to think that today there's a shipment that isn’t here, and everything in between.

And then you also have to think generationally, how do I have a company that my kids, and I’m guessing you're hoping your grandkids one day will take over. Walk me through your calendar this week, next week, over the last month. What do you do?

Monica Kalozdi: So, as a small company we have to worry about paying the bills, having money in the bank, insurance, the—hiring people, that's one of the most difficult things, actually. Because we are in a point now of being over 40 years, that we have a generation change. So, we have a lot of our employees that have been with us close to 30 years, over 20 to 30 years.

So, they’re getting to the point of retiring. So, a key item for us in the last two years has been bringing in a new generation. I’m not talking only about my own kids, but labor force. And that has taken a long, long time.

Davidson: What takes so long in that?

Monica Kalozdi: Finding the right people. Because being a small company and—to your question—your mind has to be completely flexible. You have to be willing to change thinking patterns within three minutes. So, I can be talking with you right now, I was talking about the website five minutes ago, and then I have to hurry downstairs to see how my cutting is going for the next shipment. So, you have to be very flexible, very fast. That's very difficult to find people who can attack 20, 30, or 40 things, different things, in one day.

Kicker Kalozdi: And at the same time, it's people that are willing to go—I hate to use the word, “go below them”—but sometimes, yeah, you might have to work in the warehouse. Or yeah, you might have to answer a customer service phone call. I mean, if the phone is ringing and our receptionist is in the restroom, my mom might have to answer that phone call. It doesn’t make a difference. And some people just don’t necessarily—you know, they want to do their job and have the defined roles, and not necessarily step outside of those roles. That doesn’t work here in a small family business.

Monica Kalozdi: So—

Davidson: So, what do you do in hiring? What—do you take out ads? Do you just interview 10 people for each job?

Monica Kalozdi: We interview—we’ll go through a lot, a lot of applications. And you hire, and you think, oh, it's the perfect person, and two weeks later you realize, no, they don’t have the flexibility. No, they would rather sit within a box and just do the same thing over and over again. And that's what’s so difficult. Because we, many times only have one person for each job, so that person is really important. They have to be willing to take responsibilities, and think outside the box, and be reliable.

I don't have time to say good morning every day to everybody and ask them how they did, and did they have a lovely evening before? I don't have that time. I don't even have time. People come in, it's like, hi, my door is always open, but it's always open to hear the problems and not to say hi, do you want to have a cup of coffee? I don't drink coffee, I don't have a soda drink, I don’t—there's none of them. My office is the barest, it's—because there's no time for it.

So, it's hard for people to understand. In a small company it's exciting, it's wonderful, but you have to find the right person that wants the stress level—stress levels are very high, the responsibility squarely is on everybody’s shoulder. If one mistake is made you've got to find the mistake and you've got to fix it, and you cannot have 10 people behind taking that from your shoulders. You don’t have that.

Davidson: Tell me about other parts of your week. What are other things you deal with? How—and I don't need numbers, I don't need details—but the financial picture, how are you guys—is it a month-to-month terror fest? Are you pretty solid for the foreseeable future?

Monica Kalozdi: No, fortunately my husband and I work all the finances together, and we own our building, we own everything outright, so we’re pretty solid. We’ve been building up. But once again, we did it step-by-step. So, it took us 40 years to get here and many people would say, “Oh my God, after 40 years you should have sold your business or been a lot bigger.”

But we’re still here. With many people, after 40 years they’d been long gone.

Davidson: Why don’t you walk me through some of your more specific—what you do each –

Kicker Kalozdi: I usually come in nice and early—not as early as my mom, she’s here at 7, I’m here at 7:15—okay, 7:30! And I go inside—but that's still really early though, c'mon, for a 29-year-old guy to show up at 7:30 in the morning.

Davidson: In New Orleans.

Kicker Kalozdi: In New Orleans, exactly, right!

So, I show up and the first thing I do is enter international emails and phone calls.

Davidson: Because they’re still awake.

Kicker Kalozdi: Because they’re still awake, Europe’s still operating at full speed, and that's when I need to try and reply back to them.

Davidson: And what will those issues be in international emails? What are you dealing with?

Kicker Kalozdi: For example, I am trying to set up a trade show in Europe, and I’m trying to get our posters and banners to look the right thing, and they keep on getting warped. You know, I’m having a Czech Republic company print them and then bring them to London, and there's all these logistic and shipping issues, and then translation issues and cultural differences. I mean, it's—dealing with anything internationally is instantly more complicated.

Davidson: And you do sell products inter—

Kicker Kalozdi: Yeah, yeah, we sell product. Right now we’re trying really hard to grow our Hidaki line and our DamnDog line in the U.K.

There's all these little cultural things which make things more confusing, but then also we don’t know the market. You know, when we sold—when we started selling to the Philippines, it's all about you have to get into these certain stores. There are not so many boutiques. It's more mall, it's a mall culture.

Well, in the U.S. we try to not put our lines in mall shops, we try to be more in the boutique shops. So, it's a kind of exact reversal—because there are no boutiques in the Philippines, or at least not the same sort of boutiques that we have here.

So, you have to learn the market, and we’ll never learn the market. So, we really rely on meeting our key contacts there and having them walk through it. So, I get in in the morning, I deal with all the international craziness, that's usually the first thing.

And by the time I’m through with all that I have a whole new set of emails that have come in since then, so that keeps me busy.

But then there's basic things like responding to—right now we have to change out the leather on some—on the future line.

Davidson: And why do you have to change it?

Kicker Kalozdi: Because I want to create some products that involve leather that bends, and we don’t want the leather that's too thick, that won’t bend. Basically, little technical details.

So, we’re having to switch out our leather. So, we’re going to have India, where DamnDog is made, send me a bunch of swatches, and then I’m going to go through those swatches and compare them.

So, you know, that takes up a part of the day. And then of course we get to whatever she throws at me. A lot of times it's like, how we can tighten our belts even better and be more efficient, because we have so many different brands and we have so many different websites for each brand. So, I’m trying to figure out how to combine them and make them more efficient.

Monica Kalozdi: So, my—my ideal day, I start going through all the emails, and the emails can be about problems with production that need immediate answers, questions on how to package or how to ship, should we ship 20 to a case or 40 to a case, lots of little questions you never even imagine. So, I handle all those emails coming in from China and India first.

Then there will be problems—people asking for giveaway merchandise, promotions, PR.

Kicker Kalozdi: Bloggers.

Monica Kalozdi: Bloggers.

Kicker Kalozdi: A lot of bloggers hit us up asking for free items, and then we have to figure out is this blogger legit, or is this just a stay-at-home mom who wants something for herself, you know? So, we have to constantly go through that process.

Davidson: I have a podcast, so I think you should give me—

Kicker Kalozdi: [laughs]

Monica Kalozdi: But then my main job is to look through everything and then delegate it. After I delegate it, I’m copied on everything because I’m always, like I started, my job is to find the mistakes and avoid them and correct the problems. So, I’m always—I look at everything that's going on in the company from the most minor thing—that sounds stupid, but I’m very, very controlling—

Davidson: That does not surprise me!

Monica Kalozdi: And I’m copied on everything.

Davidson: What's a minor thing you've dealt with this week? The most minor thing?

Kicker Kalozdi: Can I answer that for her?

OK, so, what we’re doing as a company is, we’re really pushing e-blasts, sort of hand-in-hand with the social media and Facebook, we’re doing a lot of e-newsletters and stuff. And I’m a pretty capable guy, I can choose the right font, but she still wants to choose the exact font and color and make sure it's just to her liking.

Monica Kalozdi: No, no. It comes back to, I like to oversee everything and catch a mistake, yeah? And if I don't like something, I definitely express my—you know? Because it represents the company. And you would not believe it, how many times I catch silly mistakes or—for example, I look through the bills before I allow them to be paid. How many times I’ve caught truck companies billing us the wrong rates, or double-billing us, or—there are tons of mistakes like that. So, yeah, I’m very controlling. I double-check everything that happens.

I do give it to other people to do but that is my main job, catch mistakes and move the company forward.