tv The Profit CNBC July 10, 2019 1:00am-2:00am EDT
chel recognizes that she probably needs to go back to square one and start over, 'cause i know she's capable, and i know she's smart enough, and she's got a great product. ♪ wow, this place is beautiful. a gifted designer started his business when he was just 8 years old... so you make all of this stuff? ben: yep. lemonis: this is all yours, too? ben: yep, these are all of our designs. lemonis: wow. ...eventually building a million-dollar home brand around his dazzling creations. now ben's garden has stopped growing. ben: i want to scale, and that's what i've been really stuck on. lemonis: and so has your business gone down? ben: yes. lemonis: though owner ben busko has overcome incredible challenges... ben: i was diagnosed with asperger's syndrome, which is a form of autism. lemonis: ...he still struggles as a leader. victoria: there's a lot of finger pointing that i'm not doing my job. i'm not doing anything. i'm costing the company money. lemonis: putting not only his company at risk...
this is a terrible representation of the business. i'm embarrassed. ...but his most important relationships, as well. ben: then i said, "well, what's the plan?" is there a timeline? kristin: you didn't say that. ben: something like that. kristin: you didn't say that. you didn't say that. that's when you said you're the "real housewives of new jersey." lemonis: if i can't help him learn to respect his staff... ben: to be frank, i don't really see a relationship continuing. lemonis: ...and relinquish some control... do you not trust people? ben: no, i don't. kristin: there's been times when he's said to me he hasn't trusted me. lemonis: ...this business may just wither away. ben: this is my home. this is my life. sometimes i can't shake it if i don't feel comfortable. lemonis: my name is marcus lemonis, and i risk my own money to save struggling businesses. we're not going to wake up every morning, wondering if we have a job. we're going to wake up every morning wondering how many jobs we have to do. it's not always pretty. everything's going to change. everything. but i do it to save jobs, and i do it to make money.
this... let's go to work. ...is "the profit." ♪ the home-decor market is huge. it's something like $600 billion, which makes it interesting to me, but it also makes me reluctant because i know how hard it is to stand out. so, when i heard about this designer ben busko who makes nearly everything he sells, i thought, maybe this is a way in. wow. wow, this place is beautiful. ben's space almost feels like an oxymoron to new york. you go outside, and there's traffic and sirens and horns. and you walk into his store. it's quiet. it's peaceful. it's beautifully decorated. it just feels like an oasis. how are you? i'm marcus. kristin: i'm kristin. lemonis: nice to meet you. the store is gorgeous. kristin: thank you. fernando: fernando. lemonis: fernando? fernando: yes. lemonis: nice to meet you. i'm marcus. ben: i'm benjamin, mr. lemonis. lemonis: benjamin, how are you?
ben: i'm very well. lemonis: ben or benjamin? ben: well, benjamin when i'm in trouble. lemonis: you're not in trouble. ben: so, ben's the way to go. lemonis: ben, this store is gorgeous. it's really well-merchandised. i'm really impressed by it. ben: thanks. lemonis: is everything in the store stuff you guys make? ben: about 90%. we don't make the books or the plants. lemonis: you don't make the books? is he normally this funny? kristin: he's pretty funny. ben: no, i'm pretty dry. lemonis: so, you make all of this stuff? ben: yep. lemonis: really nice quality. ben: yeah. lemonis: and all of this? ben: yeah, cocktail napkins. i design all the product that we sell, also, that we make. lemonis: wow. ben: and these are coaster sets. we sell a monstrous amount of them. they're a very easy gift to give, and they're all unique. this is, "the trouble with trouble is it starts out as fun." lemonis: "alcohol you later." [ chuckles ] these are excellent. did you come up with all these quotes? ben: for the most part. lemonis: everything here you did? ben: yes, all of the artwork. lemonis: this is all yours, too? ben: yep. this is decoupage. lemonis: that is the treatment? ben: yeah, so it's a french word that just means
applying paper to glass, essentially. lemonis: these are awesome. ben: they're practical. you can use them as a valet. they're food-safe, wipe clean. lemonis: this retails for $68? ben: mm-hmm. lemonis: how are your margins on this? ben: they fluctuate between 87% to 90% something. lemonis: percent? ben: yeah. lemonis: oftentimes, when i go into different retail businesses, they have reasonable margins. 45%, 50%, maybe even 55%. the reason that ben's margins are so much higher is because there isn't a middle man. he's a vertically integrated company, which means that he makes everything that he sells. take this $68 tray. a regular retailer would buy it from a wholesaler for about half the price, giving them a decent margin of 50%. but in the case of ben, he actually makes the product for maybe $6.80, and so he keeps all of the margin, like 90% of it. being a good designer is hard. but being a good manufacturer is also hard,
and the fact that ben is good at both of them? i would say that's what makes him really special. who's your biggest customer today? ben: we sell to national chains like barnes & noble. kristin, who else do we sell to? kristin: dillard's. ben: dillard's, okay. i want to scale and grow, and that's what i've been really stuck on. lemonis: and so has your business gone down? ben: yes. lemonis: who did you used to sell to that was a big part of your business that's gone away? ben: anthropologie. lemonis: what else? ben: nordstrom. lemonis: anything else? ben: neiman marcus. lemonis: okay. so what is the biggest problem this company has? ben: staffing the right positions and retention. lemonis: and how's communication in the company? ben: in terms of, like... lemonis: do people understand what's happening? are you a good communicator? ben: i try to be that. i try to follow a lot of rules. so, like, this is a binder we have. this is an example of what they initial every day. lemonis: so employee entry, 9:45 a.m. -- disarm the alarm, open the register, turn on the main store lights, answer the phone,
review follow-ups, be productive. carefully check plants so they do not die. how do you not carefully check the plant? ben: when ben's garden has a store of dead plants, it's just ben's, which is a deli, so... [ laughter ] lemonis: that actually was funny. what is your role, by the way? kristin: i'm the chief of staff. lemonis: meaning that everybody that works in the company actually gets their communication from you? ben: she's very involved in wholesale. i'm communicating as, like, an owner would to their employees. lemonis: who trains them? kristin: ben. he goes through training when they start. lemonis: wouldn't the chief of staff be doing that? ben: she's very involved in managing the -- we have a 14,000-square-foot warehouse. lemonis: oh, you do? ben: where we make all these things. lemonis: so, this whole section is third-party vendors. ben: yep. lemonis: so who buys the stuff that you don't make for the store? ben: i do. lemonis: so let me understand this, ben. you're the designer. ben: yep. lemonis: you're the buyer. ben: yep. merchandiser. lemonis: the merchandiser.
you're the chief communicator. so you have your hands full. ben: yep. ♪ lemonis: and how long have you had this business? ben: since i was 8. lemonis: how old are you now? ben: 34. lemonis: was it a legitimate business at 8? ben: yep. lemonis: that's awesome. ben: growing up, it was really -- my parents thought i was, like, really special. like, "wow, this kid's making all this stuff and selling all these things." but i wasn't communicating with kids on the playground. i was water coloring at home. about seven years ago, i was diagnosed with asperger's syndrome, which is a form of autism. and i think more creatively than emotionally. lemonis: and what prompted that? ben: just noticed socially, like, i wasn't picking up on certain things. i don't actually generally like to be touched, which after y-- lemonis: that's going to be a problem. i'm a super-big hugger. ben: i think i -- it kind of just creeps me out when, like, i don't know someone. i'd be like, okay, this is really nice.
and then we can let go at any point you'd like to. lemonis: so you have a very special talent. ben: uh-huh. lemonis: and you're ridiculously creative. i'd love to see the warehouse. ben: great. lemonis: and so if we could meet there, that would be great. ben: okay. lemonis: then i really want to understand how it all comes together. ben: okay, thank you very much. lemonis: great job. ♪ ♪ kristin: hey, marcus! lemonis: hi. this place is huge. kristin: yeah. lemonis: how many square feet is this? kristin: i think it's 14,000. lemonis: wow. can i get a tour? kristin: yeah, of course. so, right when you walk in -- ben: okay, so you guys just entered -- you just entered through a door. lemonis: is it all right if she does it, or do you want to do it? ben: oh! please. kristin: so right when you walk in, this is where we're hoping to set up a sales team. lemonis: okay, you don't have one today. kristin: no. ben: can we talk about the door? kristin: sure. lemonis: sure. ben: okay, so this complex
was built by irving bush, and he deve-- he made his fortune importing bananas. which is why our door is banana yellow. lemonis: because you like the history of it all? ben: yep. so, kristin, you can now join in. lemonis: so this is -- this area is setup for the future sales organization? kristin: yep, we hope to build a whole sales team. ben: this is where the previous sales organization was. lemonis: and what happened to the previous one? ben: they turned out not to be so smart. lemonis: who was their leader, you? ben: yes. lemonis: so... when you say they weren't good enough, some of that culpability has to fall back on you. ben: i've never thought of it in that way. can you and i look at the rest of the warehouse? i'm just going to take some time with her. ben: okay. what do i do? do i leave? kristin: yeah, you -- ben: i'm kind of curious to see what he looks at. lemonis: so, all of this here is inventory, yeah? kristin: yes, so all of everything in the metal racks is going to be finished goods. lemonis: all finished goods? kristin: finished goods. lemonis: how long have you been here? kristin: it's gonna be two years in october. lemonis: two years. what's it like working with him?
kristin: he does, like, really have a great vision. lemonis: oh, yeah. kristin: you know? and, like, really, there's not, like, a nicer person that you would want to help succeed. so, like, that's what drives me. lemonis: what's causing the revolving door? kristin: i think from doing this for 25 years, he's got the highest standards of all of us. lemonis: so, why do i see empties everywhere? like, this is an example. ben: we're back ordered on crystal paperweights, and we don't have 4x6 trays. why don't we take a look at a pick ticket? so these would be examples of orders that determine the pick quantity. this says we have zero on hand. we need to make four. so -- lemonis: let's keep going. "how do you spell love," a 4x6. ben: that's a best-seller. lemonis: zero in stock. zero in hand. make four. zero on hand. make four. zero on hand. make four. a lot of zeroes here. ben: i'm apprehensive to spend that much money on 4x6 trays when i have $700,000 worth of on-hand inventory.
lemonis: you're telling me that there's $700,000 of inventory in here? ben: yes. lemonis: but what you have is the wrong stuff. unfortunately, you have to actually put the right stuff on the shelf while you work out of the bad stuff because you create gridlock. ben has what i call "inventory gridlock." he's made some choices with particular products that aren't selling, and he's unwilling to liquidate them. he has other products that are selling at a super-fast rate, but because he doesn't have the working capital because it's tied up in bad products, he can't even fulfill the orders of the products that people do want. essentially, like, locking up everything. bad inventory management and the wrong inventory are the two things that kill companies when they least expect it. okay, do you have your financials? ben: yeah. they're in this folder. lemonis: okay. so, it shows that last year, the business lost $78,000. ben: yes. something shifted with the economy and how people spend money, which has dramatically affected our bottom line.
lemonis: consumers or your wholesale customers? ben: our wholesale customers, so they're stocking less of our product. even though they're selling out of our product, they're -- we're either not getting back to them soon enough, and they'll be unhappy with us -- lemonis: or you don't have it in stock. ben: uhh, yes. lemonis: okay, so $1,659,000 in total revenue, and of that, $675,000 of it came from your retail stores. ben: right. lemonis: so the total, the wholesale did $984,000. ben: um, i wouldn't know off the top of my hand. so i have a business consultant, barry moltz. and so he's supposed to be helping manage the finances. but since we've been working together, which is now over two years, sales have gotten worse. lemonis: because of his direction or yours? ben: well, his influence, but i-i've been trying to trust in him. lemonis: do you not trust people? ben: no, i don't. lemonis: okay, well. that's problem number one. thank you for telling me that. ben: i don't --
there are still times when kristin will be upset with me because i will say something, and it'll seem -- it'll come off as me not trusting her. kristin: there's been times when he's said he hasn't trusted me. lemonis: so, in order for us to work together, we would need to spend a disproportionate amount of time working on how you think about people, which means changing the way you think about employees, allowing kristin to actually run a part of the business where you may not be involved, and i recognize what you called and labeled a disability, and i want to build an infrastructure around you that allows the other people to not have to go through whatever the collateral damage is from it. ben: thank you. lemonis: for their sake... ben: no, i want it for them. lemonis: ...and for the business' sake. get the best out of you. so, ben, i want to make a commitment to you. i want to make an investment. ♪ i want to invest $200,000 for 25% of the business. ♪ okay?
all of a sudden, your face changed. ben: it wasn't what i was expecting. lemonis: what were you expecting? ben: uh, like... a million and a half. lemonis: a million and a half dollars? ben: yeah, i think the business is worth at least $5 million. that's what i'm thinking. barry: i'm frustrated that i can't help more. i put together all sorts of plans that i thought was the way to go forward for ben, and we haven't really been able to implement any of those plans. lemonis: do you trust barry? ben: uh, uh... no.
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ben: i think the business is worth at least $5 million. that's what i'm thinking. ♪ lemonis: for me, the business is worth no more than a million. 'cause the business doesn't make any money today, and it's not that big. for me, i don't want to invest more than $400,000, because i don't think the business needs more than $400,000. my offer is $400,000, and that would mean that for $400,000, i'd get 40% of the business. ben: right. lemonis: right? ben: yeah. um... um...
lemonis: you want to talk about it with her by yourself for a minute? ben: um... lemonis: i'm gonna let you guys talk for a minute. ben: i'm just -- i'm just -- lemonis: i'ma let you talk for a minute. kristin: i think that you're at kinda, like, a crossroad. ben: yeah. kristin: and you have to decide. ben: i think i real-- i think i need his help. kristin: so what's the hesitation? ben: that i guess now the clock has started, and it's tick. and we really have to be on our game, and that makes me anxious. kristin: but the payoff could be big. ben: yeah. no, no, no, absolutely. so it's yes. kristin: okay. ben: so now i have to hug him. lemonis: okay. ben: so, we came to a conclusion. i would, um... i would like to be -- i'd be honored to work with you. lemonis: that's awesome. i would be, as well. ♪ congratulations. ben: thank you. kristin: we're so excited. lemonis: congratulations. ben: very excited. now we're going to -- now we're gonna hug. [ chuckles ]
lemonis: see, that's not so bad, is it? ben: no, no, it's not. it's fantastic. lemonis: all right. i'll see you guys. ♪ we're going to have a little team meeting real quick. the last time i was here before i left, i made a decision to make an investment in ben's garden. so i've agreed to invest $400,000. we're going to work on things like inventory and sales, and we're going to go see a rep or two to improve your wholesale business. ben: okay. lemonis: okay? that's the easy stuff. one thing that i'm worried about is fixing the culture of how people communicate and how they get along. it appears it's a little broken. so, what could be improved? victoria: um... i guess being -- being blamed for things. it's a lot of finger pointing that i'm not doing my job. i'm not doing anything. i'm costing the company money. sometimes i have felt that way.
♪ ben: i mean, i'm really sorry that you would feel that way. lemonis: ben, what we're gonna work on is the people side of things. ben: right. lemonis: okay? ben: mm-hmm. lemonis: so, i want to get back to work, but what i do want to do is, i want to see one product from every category. a glass piece, a note card, and just put everything out. thank you. kristin: so, i'll grab something from each. ben: i can grab the stuff. can you run the report? lemonis: actually, going forward, kristin is going to be in charge of the inventory. ben: oh. lemonis: okay? kristin: okay. lemonis: my plan for this is very clear. ben is going to focus on creating and designing and coming up with new products, and he's going to allow kristin to manage the staff and interact with them in a way that can keep things moving in all departments. ♪ so there's one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine things. ben: mm-hmm.
lemonis: are they in -- is this in the right order? ben: of best-selling? lemonis: of revenue? kristin: yeah. ben: i don't think so. lemonis: so the first thing is the decoupage. kristin: there you go. lemonis: picture frames. ben: picture frames. these have exploded. paperweights we sell for people who can't afford a tray. lemonis: okay. ben: magnets. pillows. and artwork. kristin: so all three of these don't really do that well. lemonis: six of them are great. three of them are terrible. kristin: i would have trouble placing these in -- lemonis: great. don't ever make these again. ben: the margins are really great on this. lemonis: it doesn't matter. that's not her point. her point is is that you don't sell it. so who cares? ben: no, but we do -- we just don't sell a lot of 'em. kristin: we don't sell enough. lemonis: to justify it? kristin: yeah. lemonis: should these go away? should the pillows go away? kristin: i like to keep it moving. they're not coming back. lemonis: should the artwork go away? ben: no, i would be devastated. kristin: i don't think we sell a lot of those. lemonis: so, if these are gonna go away, you have to start to replace three or four things. three or four new ones need to be born and developed by you.
we're not gonna stock stuff that doesn't sell. ben: um...i would like to get into candles in a big way. lemonis: okay, so that's one. what else? ben: wrapping paper. lemonis: wrapping paper, i have a source for that. ben: wallpaper. lemonis: if you want to be in that space, that's something we can explore. by eliminating the three bottom sellers of pillows, artwork, and magnets, i'm not only going to free up cash for the top-selling items, but i'm going to replace those three items with in-demand items like wallpaper, wrapping paper, and candles, giving us a chance to regain our foothold in the wholesale market. ♪ lemonis: guys... barry: hi. ben: hey, how are you? lemonis: barry? i'm marcus. barry: hey, marcus. barry. nice to meet you. lemonis: nice to meet you. hey, buddy. ben: hey, how are you? lemonis: i want to address the concerns that ben has about barry, his business consultant. so, i thought it would be a good idea to actually get barry and ben in the same room
and find out if ben's concerns are actually as legitimate as he thinks they are. how long have you guys been working together? barry: about two years. ben is really a genius at what he does. he's really creative, so i've tried to have him bring people in sales, bring people in production, bring people in customer service, but they've been driven away either by the environment or sometimes you get upset at them. they stay two weeks, or they stay a month or whatever it is, and then they leave. i'm frustrated that i can't help more. lemonis: so were you helping him get his financials organized, as well? barry: i was helping monitoring getting the financials organized, yes. lemonis: okay. barry: they're better than they were two years ago. lemonis: oh, really? wow. barry: i put together all sorts of plans that i thought was the way to go forward for ben, and we haven't really been able to implement any of those plans. so i'm frustrated that we haven't been able to take the necessary steps in order to make much progress. ben: but i hesitate when you say, like, your financials are in a good place because -- barry: i said they're better than they were.
filing your tax returns and not filing your tax returns, that's being in a better place. lemonis: do you trust barry? ben: uh... no. to be -- to be frank, i don't -- i don't -- i don't really see -- i don't really see a relationship continuing. ♪ kristin: we'll let those go. these go. those are gone. ben: that seems -- that seems like poor judgment. lemonis: don't say we have poor judgment. she doesn't want all this stuff in her inventory, and you don't want to say goodbye to the size option. ben: no, i don't want to say goodbye to a sale.
hilda, i like the new do. got some layers in there, huh? the more, the merrier. got to have this stuff in the morning. oh, that's too hot. act your age. get your own insurance company. carlo, why don't you start us with a little bit of cereal? you can spread it all around the table. and we're gonna split the warm hot dog. and i'll have a glass of grape juice to spill on the carpet. oh, uh, do you want some to spill? act your age. get your own insurance company. oh, uh, do you want some to spill? at comcast, we didn't build the nation's largest gig-speed network just to make businesses run faster. we built it to help them go beyond. because beyond risk... welcome to the neighborhood, guys. there is reward. ♪ ♪ beyond work and life... who else could he be? there is the moment. beyond technology... there is human ingenuity.
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girl: dad! keep on watching! amazing, honey. (horn tooting) ♪ who can say why your heart sighs ♪ ♪ as your love flies kraft. for the win win. ♪ as your love flies barry: i just want to help, and by not being here, if that helps you, if you needed this meeting to be able to separate from me, that's okay. as you know, i've always wanted to do what was in your best interest because in the end, i love you and i love what you're doing. and if i can be a part of it, great.
but if i can help by not being a part of it, that's also great, too, ben. ben: i'm really good at hiring people. i'm not really good at the other part. lemonis: okay. i think you need to -- i think you need to stay around. barry: i would agree. lemonis: you're going to learn how to just not be so dismissive of people. it's not a good quality. and i think you need to stay around because he has to learn how to work with people in uncomfortable situations. and i need him to focus on making new, cool stuff so he can generate some revenue. barry: i would agree with that. lemonis: i want ben to understand that everybody has a role in the company. and whether that's barry fixing the books or kristin working with the staff, that he has to rely on other people to help make the business as good as he wants it to be. he can't do it all himself. ben: i just want it to be -- i don't want it to be, like, uncomfortable. lemonis: for who? ben: for anyone. lemonis: barry's not uncomfortable. ben: okay. lemonis: you want to hug barry? barry: i've hugged him before. this is not the first time. ben: oh, barry, you're a germ freak.
barry: that's not true. i hug people. i just don't kiss them. lemonis: high five? is that permitted, or -- ben: yeah. lemonis: okay. no, i'm not a germ freak. lemonis: good. ♪ i'm taking ben to agilex. it's one of the country's premiere fragrance developers. i want to accomplish two things. one, i want him to be able to launch his candle business, which is a replacement for an under performer, but more importantly, i wanted to see what his actual creative process was like. ben: hi, guys, i'm ben. all: hi, ben! welcome! natalie: this is the team that put together our presentation today. ben: okay. natalie: they did some work, and they looked at your brand online. christie: products are gorgeous. ben: thank you. christie: so, the job of marketing is to inspire, and given that your company name is ben's garden, we immediately took it to the modern farmhouse, which is a really big trend among consumers right now. ben: right. christie: but, like -- so, i'm imagining a collection of scents.
there were four main categories of sentiment that people would connect with. so, like, family, love, friendship, and baby. so, i'm imagining four main categories that form a collection. christie: let's smell a little bit. natalie: yeah, let's smell. nancy: do you see a little bit of greenness in the top note? ben: i do, i do. this one is too light and a little too green. lemonis: let's keep it rolling. ben: this i don't really smell. nancy: it's based upon vanilla, bourbon, and woodiness. natalie: do you like it? ben: no. to me, it smells like heavy floral. this is a no. i can't identify the components. nancy: basil and sage. ben: oh, basil is popular. nancy: do you want to smell it again? ben: no. lemonis: i think ben kind of lacks the communication filter that most of us have. and so he just tells you exactly what he thinks. and if you don't know him, you could get offended. but it's also part of his charm. ben, i think you got to really try to collaborate better than this. ben: okay.
♪ so, this one's pleasant. it smells like lilac or something. nancy: and you're absolutely right. and jasmine. ben: okay. nancy: and there's some citrus on top. lemonis: so that's a yes. ben: this would be a yes. lemonis: so we have one yes. ben: this, i like the citrus. i think that it would be directly geared to, like -- "love you to the moon and back" would be a quote we could use or something like that. all: aww. lemonis: and so they'll go work on creating libraries of fragrances. ben: mm-hmm. lemonis: you're gonna go to work on creating designs around those four. kristin, this is a project. we have to project manage it. there's going to be dates and times and tasks, and we have to hit 'em, okay? ♪ lemonis: can we see all the 10 designs? ben: yes. lemonis: ben is hard at work designing new products. you got this done already? ben: yeah. lemonis: as part of our textile initiative, ben has created 10 new designs for wrapping paper. these are awesome. ben: thank you.
lemonis: when i look at this work, it motivates me to want to work harder. ben: this is my favorite one. lemonis: what's this one? the "hello." this is actually really nice-looking. next, we're taking ben's designs to a textile company called flavor paper. jon: pleasure to meet you. lemonis: nice to meet you. this is my friend, ben. jon: hey, ben. lemonis: where they can bring his creations to life in large format as wallpaper. i mean, that is spectacular. jon: i can see doing "hello" in every language known to man. lemonis: awesome. also, ben is designing and choosing new packaging for his candle line. what's the newest one? ben: this one. lemonis: absolutely beautiful. ben: thanks. ♪ kristin: so, all of these are bad. sizes that we're just not moving forward with. lemonis: and then what we'll do is we'll just build piles with that, okay? kristin continues to move forward on the process of cleansing the inventory, and i tasked her with separating out the top sellers from the low sellers. and then take those low sellers and liquidate them.
kristin: 6x10, 4x9. lemonis: the items that we're liquidating aren't just the pillows, the magnets, and the art, but the slow movers inside of the good categories, like the oddball sizes of the trays. kristin: those are gone. ♪ ben: so we're getting rid of 8x10, 8x12, and 9x14? kristin: yeah. ben: completely? kristin: yes. ben: that seems -- that seems like poor judgment. lemonis: don't say we have poor judgment. don't judge us. ben: i think cutting some of this stuff, we'll lose opportunity. lemonis: that's not her argument. ben: i know her argument. lemonis: her argument is, she doesn't want all this stuff in her inventory, and you don't want to say goodbye to the size option. ben: no, i don't want to say goodbye to a sale. lemonis: if your business is in trouble and you need my help, log on to...
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lemonis: she doesn't want all this stuff in her inventory, and you don't want to say goodbye to the size option. ben: no, i don't want to say goodbye to a sale. i just want you guys to be aware of opportunities i know we will lose. lemonis: i don't want to tie up cash. i want to put cash in things that are right in the strike zone. ben: okay. lemonis: look... i know that it's hard for ben to put his faith in other people, but it's my job to push him along that path.
if he doesn't rely on other people to help his business, i don't know that it could actually survive. do you trust her judgment? ben: um... i trust her judgment. lemonis: so, you're not going to worry about it? ben: i'm not -- i'm not -- i mean, i'm not worried. i just -- i would like to help. whene-- kristin knows this. i worry about not being able to help. lemonis: and we're grateful for that, but we need you to focus on making this money. ben: okay. ♪ kristin: this is the scan bob, and this will show you exactly how to link it up. lemonis: in order to give ben more time to focus on design, i've asked kristin to train fernando on being the store manager. kristin: so go ahead and click that, and that kind of, like, links the ipad to the scanner. lemonis: meanwhile, ben is working on his three new product lines. and barry is working on streamlining the entire accounting process with the help of my team. barry: you can go in, and you can actually look
at the journal entries, but this can't stay where it is. lemonis: while i was hoping that ben would be happy about all the progress and maybe even ease up a little on kristin... kristin: the problem is, they're everywhere. ben: so, umm -- kristin: it's not really like -- ben: they're not everywhere. they're under their respective work tables. lemonis: ...apparently, that's not the case. ♪ what's happening? kristin: good to see you. how are you? lemonis: good to see you. over the last week, i've gotten random texts from both kristin and ben separately expressing their frustration with each other. and rather than going back and forth like it's high school, i asked them both to sit down around the table and find out exactly what's going on. how's it been going between the two of you? ben: pretty bad. lemonis: how come? ben: we're having -- we're not communicating. and her disposition has changed in saying, i'm in charge of everything. kristin: i've never said that. ben: just because marcus gave you more responsibility,
it doesn't give you the right to say this. kristin: i really hate to break it to you, ben, but i've never said that. lemonis: where's the strife between the two of you coming from? ben: it really started with the pick up of the merchandise. kristin: inventory. lemonis: the inventory that i had put on the floor, and a good chunk of it was sold, and the cash was brought in. ben: right, but -- lemonis: so then what upset you about that? kristin had sent me a text message saying, "the stuff's on a pallet. the stuff's been palletized." and then i said, "well, what's the plan? is there a timeline?" kristin: you didn't say that. ben: something like that. kristin: you didn't say that. you didn't say that. you didn't say that. you did not say that. i'm sorry, no. you did not say that. as always, you're always fantastic about communicating. ben: right. kristin: and i wrote back, if it's not working for you, i could work on it, and you wrote back, "doubt it." ben: right, "doubt it." kristin: i mean, doubt it? ben: and i never got a response. kristin: that's when you said you're the "real housewives of new jersey." this is just so ugly.
even coming here, you know, this morning. it's just, like...it's ugly. lemonis: i really felt like i was making a lot of progress with ben, but it's obvious to me that he still is reluctant to trust people. when it really comes down to it, i'm not confident that ben's willing to give up control just yet. i think the question that you have to decide is, do you want to work with kristin anymore? i mean, i think we should just get to that. kristin: just, yeah. ben: um... i don't know. i just -- lemonis: be honest. ben: i think i just, um... uh... ben: this is, like, an example of what your reps on the road would use. scott: just looking at this product, we're not going to necessarily see what the brand is really all about. ben: i guess this would -- although -- uhh... lemonis: ben, i want to just -- i want to just stop.
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do you want to work with kristin anymore? i mean, i think we should just get to that. kristin: just, yeah. ben: i don't know -- i just -- i, uh... lemonis: be honest. ben: it's not that i don't want to work with her. it's just that, um... i guess i'm used to people not -- people disagreeing with me and then leaving. lemonis: and so is that what you're anticipating us both doing? ben: yes. lemonis: is that what you want us to do? ben: no. this is my home, this business.
this is my life. and i can't -- sometimes i can't shake it if i don't feel comfortable. lemonis: i understand. the only way this company can move forward is if there are people around you that you truly trust. and will take some criticism from and not be upset about it. ♪ where do we go from here? ben: kristin and i have always been most effective when we work hand-in-hand. kristin: let's give it a whirl. what do we have to lose? if anything, like, i kind of see this as like the bottom. so we could only kind of climb back up. lemonis: kristin, we trust you to make good decisions for our business, and we need you to actually make them. kristin: okay. lemonis: but you got to let her help you. ben: i understand. lemonis: do you feel better? ben: yeah, i do. kristin: thanks. lemonis: after ben vented his frustrations and his anxiety about kristin,
he committed to trying to do better. okay, buddy. smile. ben: thank you. kristin: thanks, marcus. lemonis: and he's open-minded to the idea that other people can help him in his business. that's progress. ben: thank you. lemonis: take care, buddy. ♪ back at the warehouse, kristin has been doing an amazing job managing the inventory. kristin: so i did $20,000 the first two days, and then yesterday, i probably sold another $10,000, so it's probably like 40 grand all-in. lemonis: have you been able to order raw materials that solve our cold products? kristin: yes. lemonis: great. and ben is staying focused on the development of the new products. natalie: this is all the individual ingredients. ben: wow. lemonis: so he's back at agilex, finalizing the scent and candle line. natalie: okay, i'm going to make this one 6%, okay? ben: yeah, i love it. lemonis: and completing the designs for the wallpaper and wrapping paper. ben: so this would be, "make a wish. it's your birthday."
lemonis: these are excellent. ben: yeah, thanks. ♪ lemonis: although it's going to take a while for the newly created products to go into production, i wanted to start to generate some revenue, so i've set up a huge opportunity with the harper group. the harper group is one of the foremost rep groups in the marketplace. are you ready to go in? ben: i'm very excited. lemonis: a rep group essentially acts as a sales agent that will wholesale the products to other retailers around the country. we need the rep group. scott: so we kind of work in four primary product categories. ben: okay. scott: we work in personal care, home fragrance. we work in personal accessories in gift. we work in a little home and tabletop, and then we have our paper and publishing business, as well. ben: very good. kristin: we were interested in having you rep our brand. scott: oh, that would be great. kristin: so we do a little bit of tabletop, home decor -- ben: so we're here -- i make home -- we make home and gifts, gifts and stationery.
and we were interested in -- do we have, like, a table? scott: absolutely. ben: so these are examples of key products of, like, what your reps on the road would use. ♪ scott: just looking at this product here, we're not going to necessarily see what the brand is really all about. i mean, really, ben, what we find is that if the retailer is new to the brand, they're gonna want to see and feel the product. especially some of the bestsellers in each of the categories in order to show that. ben: okay. scott: if our team doesn't have the right tools when they're in the stores, sometimes that can be an impediment to trying to get sales. lemonis: i'm frustrated with the fact that ben didn't even bring any of the new stuff that he's been working on. he could have at least brought a few samples, even if they weren't perfectly ready. now i know why his sales people have struggled. an artist is terrible at picking the frame for the art,
and it's the same for ben where he doesn't actually understand the kind of packaging that needs to go around his art for the salesperson to actually deliver it. ben: i guess this would -- although terribly -- uh...uh... not a terrible introduction. lemonis: ben, i'm embarrassed. i want to just -- i want to just stop. ♪ for exclusive, extras, and business advice, visit... lemonis: ben, i'm embarrassed, so i want to just -- that i won the "best of" i casweepstakes it. and i get to be in this geico commercial? let's do the eyebrows first, just tease it a little. slather it all over, don't hold back.
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i want to just stop. ben: okay. lemonis: this is a terrible representation of the business. ben: oh. lemonis: i'm not comfortable asking him to take on this product. ben: we did this based upon past experience, but from both of your reactions, this wasn't what you were expecting. lemonis: let's turn it into a positive. ben: right. lemonis: when i went into the store in soho, blown away. i apologize, and i'm being sincere. i don't know what your schedule is tonight. is there any possible way that you could swing by the store so we can get, like, a restart? scott: yeah, we can do that. lemonis: look, this was a total mess, and i knew that if i could get scott to come to ben's store, he would see what i saw. if we could just pack up -- ben: there's not very much. lemonis: i didn't say it, but thank you for -- genuinely sorry, but i want to put our best foot forward. scott: no, that's fine.
♪ ben: hello! scott: how are you? ben: great. welcome to ben's garden, round two. scott: wow. this is really very impressive. this is a completely different vibe and feel from what we saw in the showroom, for sure. ben: i'm really embarrassed and still kind of, like, unsettled. i don't -- i generally try to get things right. scott: uh-huh. ben: so, i'm going to -- kristin might lead for a little bit to walk through things. kristin: when you come right in through the door, our number-one category that we sell through is going to be decoupage. scott: i was just going to say, so you're keeping your high-selling categories up front so that's the first thing that the consumers see. scott: oh, it's beautiful. kristin: then the next category that we excel very well at would be tabletop. so our coasters are fantastic. they come in these great giftable boxes, which is very easy for our wholesale customers to kind of gift wrap. they come ribboned, and they're all set to go.
and then a really fantastic category that does really well for us would be photo frames. and they, too, will come in the really great orange and yellow boxes. scott: that's very cool. this is really very impressive. in the showroom, when i saw the samples and the product that you had, it in no way reflects what is here. now seeing this and immersing us in the experience and in the product, i think it's a great opportunity for us. lemonis: so, is this approved to do a deal? scott: it's approved. thank you very much. ben: thank you. kristin: love it. ben: we look forward to it. lemonis: kristin really stepped up, and ben actually let her do the talking. finally. ben: thank you for coming here. scott: of course, yeah. ben: and i'm sorry for what -- i'm sorry for -- lemonis: no. we're moved on past that. we're all good. ben: i'm learning. i got to stop sometimes. i just keep going. lemonis: don't talk past the sale. he said yes. all right, thanks, scott. ben: all right, thank you. ♪ kristin: hi! lemonis: hi, how are you?
kristin: good to see you. lemonis: where's ben at? kristin: he's on his way. lemonis: he texted me, and he said he couldn't get his bow tie on. now that ben's landed the harper group and he's developed the new products... hey! ...i wanted to invite local sales reps and customers to ben's soho store for product unveiling and a celebration. is ben's mother here? ben: mom? lemonis: oh, hi, ben's mother. i'm marcus, by the way. mira: nice to meet you. lemonis: can i hug you? oh, my god. your mom's a hugger. i love that. ben: thank you very much for coming and celebrating what we're trying to do here. the experience has enriched my life and really brightened my future. lemonis: there's a lot of new products. ben: yep, so these are all of our designs. i designed the candles and wrapping paper and wallpaper. all these things are things that i have wanted to work on for a long time, and marcus has been able to create these opportunities to manifest themselves.
lemonis: you want to tell everybody to have a good time, or what do you want to do? ben: please, enjoy. lemonis: thank you for coming. ben: thank you. lemonis: the new products and the deal with the harper group should help us clear at least $2 million in wholesale business during the next year -- double what we currently do. ben: virginia, hi, you are the sweetest thing. lemonis: and in my journey with ben, i've seen a ton of growth. i do like the fact that he's more self-aware of how his interaction with people can affect them, and he's now trusting people to pitch in. and it really allows ben to focus on the things that he's spectacular at -- designing and creating. this guy may be the most creative person that i have ever met. ben: thank you. lemonis: i'll see you soon, okay? ben: thank you for coming. really. you're really very nice. lemonis: i'll see you soon. ♪
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