Ryan Berman talks to thought leaders from around the globe in business, sports and entertainment to uncover what it means to be courageous in today's world.
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Lauren Teague – Founder of FANWAGN
Lauren Teague knows the secret to building a great business is to cultivate fandom instead of followers. Currently, she’s focused on building FanWagn, a website specifically designed for sports fans to buy and sell apparel from their favorite teams. Before founding FanWagn, Lauren spent seven seasons as the voice of @PGATOUR, transforming how professional golf connects with fans online.
On this episode of the Courageous Podcast, Lauren and Ryan dive into the realities of Lauren’s major leap from her dream job with the PGA Tour to becoming a startup founder. They unpack why it’s become courageous to “do good” in business vs just “do well”, and why Lauren has a major challenge in catering to both buyers and sellers with her new startup. Lauren also shares some wise advice about reinvesting her income into training courses in areas she knows needs growth.
Ryan Berman 0:00
This is a show about facing fear, unlocking courage, and taking action.
Speaker 2 (Female) 0:05
Courage isn't necessarily a daunting thing.
Speaker 3 (Male) 0:07
It's going to give you more purpose, it's going to give you more drive.
Speaker 4 (Male) 0:10
It feels like making a courageous decision is going to get you closer to who you aspire to be.
Ryan Berman 0:14
It’s knowledge, plus faith, plus action equals courage.
Lauren Teague 0:18
It’s a quote that I keep. It says, “Go into the world and do well, but more importantly, go into the world and do good.” And I think it takes courage to do good. I think it doesn't take a ton of courage to do well in business, I think it takes a lot of courage to do good.
(Intro Music 0:34-0:39)
Ryan Berman 0:40
Oh, we're just jumping right on in here. And here we are, it’s new year-new year. We've talked about this before, Lauren Teague, which is great to see you. How are you?
Lauren Teague 0:49
Hi, Ryan, I'm so good. Thanks for having me on.
Ryan Berman 0:52
You should be good. New year-new you is really you, and you've earned it. You've done some things in your life. You've seen some things in your life, no?
Lauren Teague 1:00
I appreciate that. I was in Pittsburgh in that break between Christmas and new year when most people don't work. You see all the memes happening around, “I'm caught in a coma of cheese and I don't know how to get out,” those things. No, I actually got on a plane to Pittsburgh and I went and did an eight-hour session with a friend, a speaker friend of mine named Joe Moore and his team to start their marketing for the new year and get them a jumpstart. Yeah, he was really nice in reminding me, “Look, you've been around, you deserve every penny and you really need to start taking yourself more seriously.” It's just nice to be reminded of that, to be quite honest, because I don't always give myself that credit.
Ryan Berman 1:48
I find it odd that that's like, one, new year-new you. In some ways, there's a lot of still old year-old you, and old year-old me. How we both met, I'm pretty sure we met because we were both doing our thing on a stage, was probably for Digital Summit, if I remember correctly. I know for a fact, I knew your name just because of Jay Baer, and we had been working with Jay’s team and we had been working with you. But then, it wasn't until, “Oh, wait a minute, Lauren is not just on Jay’s team, she's rocking it on stages.” This was, gosh, maybe I want to say four or five years ago when you probably...
Lauren Teague 2:30
Yeah. In the old world, in the old...
Ryan Berman 2:32
Old year-old us world. And maybe this is a really good place to start because it is truly like new year-new you, and you've got lots of cool new stuff happening. So, let's just start with the new. You have taken the leap. Talk about the leap.
Lauren Teague 2:52
I have taken a big leap. The leap, even though it's a new year, I feel like the leap has been, at least, a year in the making, which is, I think, how most decisions, good decisions get made to do that. The TLDR version is I am giving up my clients, and most of my marketing consultancy, and the things that I've done for the last seven or eight years, and I am launching a brand new business. I'm putting my 15-plus years of experience in digital, in social, in content, in project management, and I'm putting them on the line, and I’m trying to do a startup. So, that's the TLDR. I'm going away from consulting and working on other people's businesses and trying to build a new one of my own.
Ryan Berman 3:41
All right, before we get into the actual business, because obviously, I'm not going to just let you off the hook and be like, “My startup.” “Well, this concludes the podcast.” And say, at what point across the last 15 years -- because you said it's been a year, really, but before that I'm sure there was, just to keep the acronyms going, some WTF moments where you were like, “Why am I building all these other people's businesses and why am I not building my business?” So, was that the question, or at what point did you ask yourself that thought?
Lauren Teague 4:20
Yeah. As I look back over my career, I seem to fall into some sort of seven-year itch. Thankfully not in my relationships, not with my spouse, or my children, or anything like that. But, in work, if I look at what I've done, I spent seven seasons at the PGA Tour in about six and a half years. Then we made a switch on where we actively chose to leave Florida, and move back across the country to where I'm from, which is in Oregon. To do it on our own terms was pretty powerful, and honestly, having to leave a job that I could have stayed in some way, shape, or form, I could have worked for the PGA Tour forever, it was always my dream job. So, that seven-year itch. So, when I got through seven years of working with Convince & Convert, working with Jay Baer and that fabulous team, working on some of my own clients, expanding into speaking and kind of feeling that out. Well, in those seven years that I was doing that, I also was raising three children. I had two of them while I was working with Jay, and got them to a point where that was the dream job of my ‘30s essentially. Now, I'm coming out of pandemic mode, looking at what's next, I think that's where the WTF of, like, “Hey, I've worked with incredible brands, I worked with incredible mentors and some of the smartest people in business, and my network is fabulous. I have a problem that I can't stop thinking about. This problem keeps coming up, and I keep looking for a solution that someone else has built, so why not me?” I think that was, maybe it wasn't a WTF, but it was like a, “Why not me? Why can’t I do this?” I also think when you're trying to make that decision of reorienting what your compass, where it goes, what it says, I think you also try to talk yourself out of the decision as much as possible. So, I actually, a lot of 2021, midyear I got to ‘why not me,’ and then, for four to six months, kind of the rest of the year, I was trying to talk myself out of it. “Okay, What if it fails? What if...” We had conversations at home about, “Okay, you can risk this, but not the house. You can risk the car, but not the house,” those kinds of things. And then, really, for me, thinking about what's going to keep me interested. If I build a great company, and I could sell it in five years, am I going to want to? Is that going to feel good? What are some of the other things that I would then end up doing? So, trying to talk myself out of it at every time, and what I found was I always had the answers. The answers keep coming. I alluded to, if you write a book, you get into the stream of consciousness, and you just write, and you write, and you write, and it just comes out of you. I've never done that book-wise, but it feels that natural to me to go into founder mode or entrepreneurship on this level. So, I guess, yeah. Scratching that seven-year itch and giving myself the permission to both talk myself out of it, and then, listen when the answers are always there.
Ryan Berman 7:48
Yeah, I always bounce between, “Why not me? Why me?” “Why not me? Why me?” It’s like, “She loves me, she loves me not,” so it's the same exact thing. How often did you bring other people into the conversation? Because the little voice is always there and it's trying to navigate all the madness that happens inside our minds. But did you bring your husband into the mix? Did you bring mentors into the mix? Where would you go when you needed to have a vulnerable moment, and who did you rely on?
Lauren Teague 8:21
Yeah, that's a really good question. It was a little bit of all of those things. It was validating, “Is this a problem for other people? Is this something that is hard for me, or is it hard for more people like me, and other people who aren't like me but might have the same problem in validating that?” I alluded to a great network that… Actually, probably the team at Convince & Convert in some sort of monthly team meeting, probably I was like, “Oh, this thing, frustrated, but I think that I could go fix that.” They were the first ones that were like, “Yeah, if anybody's going to fix it, you can build this,” and that's a little enlightening. So, it’s bouncing it off the people who know you the best in different situations, and then, some people who know how to build a business. So luckily, I had some of those people in my life, and I have… Some are family members or in-laws who have been successful in careers, or building businesses, so running it by them. “What do you see? Who do you know? Do you know someone who might invest in this down the road?” Getting all of those answers, but as much as that was at home. So, if I go do this, it takes on a lot of risks. We have a young family, my kids are, right now, five, seven, and nine. And luckily, my husband has a great stable job that I was like, “You can't quit. Now, you can't quit and we can’t move, so are you good with that because that probably locks you into that job for five more years?” So, those conversations, and honestly, even conversations with our children. And they were with me last year, late December when I signed the incorporation papers. I took them partly because they were out of school, and I had no childcare, and I needed to take them with me to go to the lawyer's office, but also because I wanted them there. I want them with me in every step of the way. My parents were entrepreneurs, they worked for themselves on farms and in agriculture. But, at the same, I was invested in their business because I was part of it, because I was out there working growing up. So, that was part of that. If I can teach my kids and pass on work ethic and responsibility by having them help me in this new company that we are building, then I think that that's a way for me to transfer some of those things that were instilled in me at a young age. So, I talked to lots of people.
Ryan Berman 10:53
What I'm most passionate about… I love courage, obviously, [Inaudible 10:58] there’s a step and repeat that says, “Courage boot camp,” behind me. But what I really love more than anything is story. I just love a good story. And I have studied story. My three, sort of, if you made a cocktail of how I like to make a story, where I really learned, one was Joseph Campbell; Hero's Journey. This is probably not new news for most people. If it's new news, Google Joseph Campbell, this is the Star Wars movies. The second is a guy named Robert McKee. He wrote a 3000-page book, that's what it felt like, called ‘Story.’ For those of you who've seen ‘Adaptation,’ the movie. Meryl Streep. Coffin brothers go to his big booming, sort of, auditorium and get reamed at by McKee, now that's McKee’s style. Number three is probably the one that LA knows but no one else knows, which is a guy named Blake Snyder. He wrote the movie Blank Check. And you know that whole, like, if you can't do teach. He clearly sold stuff, but he's known for just deconstructing stories. And his book is called ‘Save the cat,’ because the idea is that, on page five of every great script, minute five because it's a minute a page, is a ‘save the cat’ moment, where you want to follow the main character. “I've spent my $20, I will now go wherever Lauren goes, and I will root for Lauren everywhere she goes,” so it's called ‘Save the cat’, great book. Blake also talks about this concept called ‘watch out for that glacier,’ which means get to the damn point already. All right. So, Lauren, what's the startup?
Lauren Teague 12:47
Oh, yeah. Sorry, buried the lead there….
Ryan Berman 12:51
No, I don't think this was on you, I think this is on me because there's so much to talk about with Convince & Convert, and other things, and you're an expert in so much. But let's talk about the actual startup.
Lauren Teague 13:02
Yeah, let's talk about it. So, the startup is called Fan Wagn, and it's actually spelled F-A-N, W-A-G-N. One, because I could get that domain when I was looking for it. Also, I'm a child of… I came up during that mid-2000s, and we used to joke at the PGA Tour that, every time I brought a vendor in, like a sprinkler or etc., etc., nobody actually had vowels in their name, so it's also just a nod to that early years of my career. So, Fan Wagn, no ‘O’ at the end. Fan Wagn is the secondhand or resale marketplace built for fans, buy fans where we're helping discover and buy and sell your favorite fan apparel from your favorite sports teams.
Ryan Berman 13:50
Lauren Teague 13:51
So, everybody has… And then, maybe everybody has a stretch, but most people in my world have, at least, one college sweatshirt, team hat, even if you got it from somebody else. You've got a team hat, some sort of sweatshirt, a soccer scarf. If you're my husband, you get a new hat every time you go to a Dallas Stars game. We have been together for almost 15 years, so you can imagine how many green, black, white, gray, Dallas Star logoed hats he has in his closet that, honestly, you can't wear them all. I'm a huge customer of fanatics. I love team gear, I've grown up in sports. And what I realized was we do have a sustainable fashion problem. There's nothing cooler to me than walking into a stadium, or an arena, or a pitch with 20,000 of my favorite people all dressed in [Inaudible 14:51] and our gear, and the new jerseys, but what happens to the stuff that's been in our closet? Our society tends to throw things away at goodwill, and there really can be other uses for that. Yeah, I came at it because my kids grow very quickly out of things, as you probably know. It feels like every month you're in their closets when they're young pulling things out that don't fit anymore. So, once we made it through the 2T size, and I have a stack of [?Mass First?] polos, and I have a stack of Dallas Stars jerseys, and I live in Portland, Oregon, I can't give that stuff away. Nobody cares. But, the mom in Georgia, she'll pay me $30 a piece for those photos, so how do I find their mom in Georgia? There's no one else who's doing that. So yeah. After like four years of that, then I just decided, “Okay, you can go above that.”
Ryan Berman 15:43
First of all, I just can't believe that there's not other Dallas hockey fans in Portland. This is a big surprise here on the show.
Lauren Teague 15:52
Well, now there's a lot of Kraken fans because Seattle's right up the road, which is fine. They’re are a backup team, it's fine.
Ryan Berman 15:59
So, first of all, it's a great idea. I got to ask, how much was the asking price for Fan Wagn within gon.com?
Lauren Teague 16:08
That's a good question. I don't think I looked at that one, I did look at wagn.com because I would be fine with that piece of it too. Wagon.com was $25,000. And I'm bootstrapping. I can build a really good website for $25,000 with a $50 domain, so I'm okay with that.
Ryan Berman 16:30
All right, so here's the question. One; as you think back through all of your experiences because you've got sports. Looking under the hood of businesses, you understand digital, you understand social, you understand fandom. Maybe I missed it, doing the answer for you, but walk me through how it equates to, “It's time for me to launch Fan Wagn.” Why you're the perfect person to do it.
Lauren Teague 16:55
Yeah, I think after year four of not finding a place to put these things, and if there's going to be something, I'm just going to shove it to the back of the closet. And year after year of that not finding someone else doing this. And then, probably a combination of the pandemic. Like for most people, things changed for me. We had great years in consulting over the pandemic. So, it's not that I needed a new job, it was actually that I had the resources to take the risk. So, I think that is also how I got into speaking. I was getting speaking opportunities, I was getting asked to go places and give talks. I realized I was making money doing it, and I realized I needed to be better at it. So, I took the money that I was making and reinvested it into really good training so that I could leverage that for the next 50 years. I was at a place where I had a problem, a solution, and the resources on my own, to, at least, start to attack that problem, and so that became the, ‘why not me?’ There's plenty that I have said yes to in the past, and there's a lot that I have to now change that mindset and say no to things now to make space for Fan Wagn and to get into that. And I think that that has been a little bit hard, and risky, and honestly, it's just maybe not having time for the same events, or activities, or people that you had time for even three or five years ago. That's not comfortable for me, but that's something that now I'm… The ‘why not’ has become, I have a thing, I have a light and I'm moving everything that I can towards that light to make it work.
Ryan Berman 18:53
It's such a good idea. As an idea guy, I love the idea because it's all about passion. and like you said, what does it take to make a fan? If I'm a fan, I can't quit being a fan of some of my teams. I wish I could.
Lauren Teague 19:12
Ryan Berman 19:13
I wish I could. As someone that grew up in the DC area, I cannot quit name changes that have happened that I don't totally buy in on. The fact that I have to sit here and call the Washington Wizards, ‘The Wizards,’ or the Washington commanders, ‘The commanders,.’ Two names that I'm not a fan of, frankly, but I am a fan. It's in my blood because of nostalgia, because I'm a sports fan, there's true love. So, just the idea of creating this marketplace where fans can connect, and trade, and find the thing that they just absolutely have to have is an amazing idea and clearly missing in the market. So, let's just say for one minute and -- I wonder if you can play with me for a second here, we're going to play…
Lauren Teague 19:12
Let’s do it.
Ryan Berman 20:04
All right. Let's say, unemotional because it has to be now unemotional, that you're not the owner of Fan Wagn, you're not the founder, in fact, there are going to be a client of yours. So, unemotionally, you need to now look at Fan Wagn as if you were back in old you-old you, not, new you-new you. As you sit down the Fan Wagn and you've done your audit, you've done your research -- I'm trying to also give you time to think through as you look at the brand, unemotionally, of course -- what are the three things, major things you're like, “Okay, listen to the client who's going to pay me, 1, 2, 3, we absolutely have to knock these out,” where do you start?
Lauren Teague 20:50
So, unemotionally, but also very familiar with the brand and the marketing. I would say, one thing I know to be true and I've been advised on is that in a multi-seller marketplace, it's literally the hardest business to build because you need the buyer and you need the seller, and you need them simultaneously. It's a chicken or egg question; do you have to go get demand to convince someone to list 1000 products with you? How do you get the inventory and the attention or the demand at the same time? So, you're actually serving two very distinct audiences with one brand. And so, that means that in my first 10 hires, I need both a seller concierge and a buyer support person. I need someone who is focused, not just on buyer acquisition, but helping them through the purchase. I need a seller concierge who is willing to stand up people's shops for them from the beginning, and handhold certain people to get on the platform and make those concessions. So, I think the first one is really paying attention to both sides of that marketplace and making sure the user experience of that is appropriate for both. I've been in a ton of reseller groups just listening for 18 months, listening to them bitch about Poshmark, and Mercari, and eBay, and the changes that are being made on these platforms, then the sellers don't see themselves represented in the changes. So, being able to do that. I just had a conversation for my own podcast with my buddy Jake McKee, and he has been a community professional for 20 years, and he was talking about customer translators as the role for community management professionals. And I was like, “That is the perfect word for it.” So, being able to dial into that. So, you asked for three, another one would be I'm really driven to use data for good. So, in that, I think a lot of people would like to use it for good but they don't know where to get, they don't know how to store it, they don't know how to use it necessarily. I think, if you're going to ask somebody for data, for example, what’s your favorite team? What cut of a shirt or style do you like? Are you going to wear the red? Are you going to wear the white or the black? Those things. If I'm going to ask questions like that of my audience, or my customer base, then I need to be able to deliver something based on that. So, I think that leveraging data really well both in what you ask for and then how you return value back to the user is really, really important. Then I think the third thing that I would say is really know -- and I talk to my clients about this all the time -- but really know what your brand stands for. We know that the majority of people will buy more, and be more aligned, more loyal to a brand that is aligned with their values, which means they have to identify what the brand's values are. So, one of the first things that I wrote as a founder, again, when I was trying to talk myself out of doing this was, if I have to build a company -- it's not just a product, I'm not just building a website. So, if I do it right, it becomes a huge company. If I'm building a company, what is the culture of that company? Because, now, I'm not just responsible for transactions on a website, I'm responsible for building the company. That's a mind shift for me that I've never… I do that on a very small scale now, but I'm preparing myself to do that larger. So, do you know what the brand stands for and can everybody else articulate that? Can we make decisions based on brand values that include accessibility, inclusivity? That sports are for everybody so we're not going to go in with… We're getting away from gendered apparel, we’re getting away from fit is, like, adult small. Let's be specific and let people just decide for themselves what they want. So, that's more of what the founders have on, but hopefully that... I think also because I've worked this through as the consultant, I hope that feels okay.
Ryan Berman 25:17
How does the word ‘fan’ play in all this? What does it mean? I can see you answering it two very different ways, and I don't want to take words out of your mouth. I could see a company line that ‘we believe everyone can unleash the power of being a fan,’ or is it more of the, “Hey…” You know what I mean? When you finally identify yourself as a fan the magic happens. And again, we want people to be a fan before they really turn to us. It's not that it's asking people not to join us, we're not sending people away, but the idea that you're a fan, which, like I said, I am a fan. My son is a fan of the food when we go to a game, but I wouldn't say is a fan-fan. How do you define fan in this environment?
Lauren Teague 26:15
Yeah, I think that that's interesting. On the site right now, I think if on the mockups that we have, or on the prototype that I have right now, it says, “At Fan Wagn, we believe we are what we wear.”
Ryan Berman 26:28
Lauren Teague 26:30
So, it's actually, if you remove sport from it... When I was doing some work with Tamsen Webster last year on the Red Thread of the idea, because she's fabulous, we settled or we identified… We came across the phrase, “We're the site for identity apparel because we are what we wear,” that was the truth of the Red Thread, and I do believe that. I am the kind of person that probably over-invested in RVG-colored T-shirts, and I have a whole section in my drawer that is on... I have WNBA T-shirts that say, “Bet on women,” or that the W stands for anti-gun violence. I have the RBGs, I have the pride shirts, I got it all. I got to the point where this summer I had to edit what I was wearing, what I was choosing to wear when I knew I was going to family picnics with little old aunties. Like I don't need to cause a stir at a family picnic, I'm just going to choose a different T-shirt. But, actually, now I have to edit clothing. I told you I picked the jersey that I'm wearing today because I knew you would identify with it. So, that part is interesting. So, it's less about...
Ryan Berman 27:48
Hold on. Hold on. Now you got to explain that jersey.
Lauren Teague 27:52
Oh yeah, I forgot. This isn't a video show. Well, we're on video, everybody else can see it. So, earlier this year, when Nike released the World Cup units for the kits for all the teams, the US didn't have the most attractive version for a lot of the fans. It was fine on TV, most of the fans; not super happy with the Nike designs for the USA kits for the World Cup this year. So, instantly on Twitter, people were talking about alternate designs, “Here's something that I made, dah, dah, dah.” There was a company out in New York that manufactures jerseys, that picked up some of these designs and I think started working with some artists, and they released alternates. So, I'm wearing an ‘all of the New York,’ the stars version. So, it's a navy blue jersey shirt with red typing on the sleeves and on the collar, and it has 50-some -- I think it's 50 or 52 -- white stars. And it has similar to the US soccer crest on the chest. So, it's a great shirt, it's a soccer shirt, but I could also wear it for lots of USA ‘go team, go states’ stuff, so that’s the… I can post a picture of it on my Twitter account.
Ryan Berman 29:09
Yeah. I think it's cool that… First of all, I appreciate that you wore it. Again, I'm taking your words as to like, I'm so vain. You said you wore it because I identify with it, which I do. But I also love that idea ‘we are what we wear.’ You were wearing it because you identify with it. And so, I'd love to hear just where's the site now? How can we help? What do you need us to do? We're in. We're all for courageous brands here, you’re a courage brand.
Lauren Teague 29:44
(Laughs) Thank you. That is a big part of... One of my mottos -- it's back here on my desk, I think you can see it, I can read it to you. Something that I've had probably since college says… It's a quote that I keep, it says, “Go into the world and do well, but more importantly, go into the world and do good.” And I think it takes courage to do that. I think it doesn't take a ton of courage to do well in business, I think it takes a lot of courage to do good. So, that is, again, when I'm trying to talk myself out of moving away from safety and moving into something that's risky and something I haven't done before. When you're trying to talk yourself out of that, and then, you get the idea that, “Oh, I could build a company in my image, of what I think that business should represent and how it could be. Okay, what aligns with that?” Will be core standards fits. 1% company’s fit with how I feel like business can be done. Having some sort of shared profits, and rewarding your employees, and keeping that... I'm not building this company, I want to build a company that Michael Rubin wants to buy and can't buy. Does that make sense?
Ryan Berman 31:00
Lauren Teague 31:01
I would love to align with Michael Rubin. I think I admire a lot of what he does and he just made a ton of money off of four M&As, and I want to be a company he wants to buy that I want, but he might not get. And I was like, “Okay.” So, those things where… Like, small acts of courage. Now, it might be different if you're sitting in a boardroom and someone's throwing all zeros in your face, and hopefully, I get there. But I also think that I'd like to build a company that is in my image of what I think a company in 2023 and beyond should look like in the world because I don't have anything to lose.
Ryan Berman 31:40
One; it's sort of sad that making a courageous business which is an act of good is the reality. Like, really? Honestly, I've been interviewing, we're almost at 100 interviews for the podcast, and Jay probably has like 20,000 interviews, Jay Baer. For me, as an observationalist, and I've said this before on the show, it's also really, really sad that telling the truth is now an act of courage. People are so afraid to tell the truth, especially in corporate environments. So, what I love about what you're setting up is you're just trying to be really thoughtful and intentional about what you believe in, put that bat signal out into the world so that other people that believe in those things can come help you build this. So, one more ask again is where do you need help? How do we help?
Lauren Teague 32:39
Okay. Well, fanwagn.com is in development. We are active on Instagram, on TikTok, and Twitter, at least for the short time being @fanwagn. So, that's F-A-N, W-A-G-N. I'm actually looking right now for people who have inventory, people who are ready to clean out their closet or have a pile of team apparel that they're planning to get rid of. I'm looking specifically for people who have at least 50 items, and who are willing to let us help them list them. That's the first go. And once we do some user testing and debugging, I actually had a meeting with my developers immediately before this recording, so we know that the MVP of the very first version of what Fan wagn’s marketplace will be, it will be ready probably by March Madness, is kind of my goal. So, maybe not Super Bowl, but probably by March Madness, so we're going to bring some sellers on. So, if you know somebody, if you have a favorite vintage shop that doesn't want to do eCommerce, or doesn't like to do eCommerce, we're trying to be an alternative for that as well so that vintage resellers can jump on and do a little bit different. Or, if you've got lots of stuff and you're cleaning out your closet, I'm looking for sellers first, and then, I think the buyers will come once we have some really cool stuff. I think it's going to be a fun place to browse, it's going to be a fun place to discover until we find the thing that is exactly what you're looking for. So, it's coming, it's coming fast and furious, and I can't wait.
Ryan Berman 34:30
All right, just to be really clear with the listener. One; I have zero stake in this company. I don't want people to think... We just had Ed Romaine from Bleacher Report on house highlight, and I will connect you guys because I just think you just never know. But I want the audience to know I root for you, it's not like this is some shameless promotion where I own 10% of the business and we're going to start putting Fan Wagn on here. For those people who do have an idea for you, and want to email you, what's the best way to find you?
Lauren Teague 35:11
Ryan Berman 35:14
Okay. And finally, and this will be new for the podcast because usually we bring somebody on… I think I've only had one other guest on twice, which was Landon, Lan Donavon. Donnie Jones is another one.
Lauren Teague 35:30
Okay. Good company.
Ryan Berman 35:31
Not bad, but I would love to invite you back on in six months from now. And maybe as you continue to grow this, we can just have you come in and talk about what you've learned. And look, it's a show about courage, so there's this famous line that fear and courage are kin. You can't get to one without the other. So ,maybe where we'll end is, what are you afraid of? Where's the fear? Let's just start with that, what are you afraid of?
Lauren Teague 36:00
Oh, I'm afraid of failing.
Ryan Berman 36:03
Lauren Teague 36:04
I'm afraid of tripping hard on my face and having to pick myself back up. I'm an anagram eight, so there is something about the loss of power or being confronted with something that it feels uncomfortable to me that would be… But as a professional speaker, if I fail, epically, I got great stories to tell onstage. The backup plan is fail epically, just turn it into a good talk and be able to do that. So, it's a pretty good backup plan. (Laughs)
Ryan Berman 36:38
The irony is that we started it; new year-new you, and the back plan is old year-old you.
Lauren Teague 36:46
Old year-old you (Laughs)
Ryan Berman 36:47
I think this is not a...
Lauren Teague 36:49
Old you-new story.
Ryan Berman 36:50
This is not a new problem. I think a lot of us feel like we don't want to go back to our old lives, and we do what we do to stay in our new life. I'm madly passionate about what I do, I know you are too. You have a new fan, pun fully intended, rooting for you and I'm sure you've got lots of fans who are listening. And courageously, give me one, sort of, the next big courageous move you need to make to make this business go the way you want it to go. It might not be… It might be raising money. I don't know, it could be two years down the line, what do you think it is?
Lauren Teague 37:23
Yeah. I think the courageous moves I need to make are to pick up the phone and contact people in my network or that I've worked with in the past, and cash in the chips. And I say that's courageous because I'm not the kind of person that's brash enough to feel like I can just knock on any door. Relationships take a little work, so I need to go humbly and say… But I need some strategic partnerships with teams, and leagues, and college programs who are willing to give me a little bit of freedom with a brand mark, or get in front of that. So, that's one of them, it’s just the courage to really ask for the things that I need this year. And then, I think the courage to go ask for money in the investment piece of it. So, it's bootstrapped. I've got a runway and my other business where I've saved enough money that I don't necessarily have to take a salary yet, but I got to go get money so I can keep the people that I've hired working, and that we can continue to iterate. So, I think those are the two pieces that I'm maybe not super comfortable with all the time, but as far as working my network, I love those people. It's just making the ask when, for so long, I've been coming at them from a place of help, or not help, of I'm helping them, I'm supporting them, and then to turn those tables and say, “You know what? I do have.” It’s actually why I'm launching my new podcast; the Brenda Fan show. Ryan, you and I have talked about that, and what it takes to launch the podcast, and things, but that's a way for me to reach out to my network, give them something of value from me, but also, say like, “Hey, I got this thing over here.” So, the Brenda Fan show is talking all about the phenomenon of fandom and how marketing can leverage that right to build fans for their future, but it's presented by fan [Inaudible 39:24] they work hand in hand. So those are the things. It's not super comfortable for me to go ask for help, but I got to go do it.
Ryan Berman 39:33
Sounds like marketing. Not that that's a bad thing. No, it just sounds like it's a good fit, it makes total sense on why you will do it. All right, this is not simply ‘thanks for coming on the show,’ this is ‘I'll see in about six months.’ I hope I see you sooner, by the way. I'm really excited for what you're building, and I would go back to telling the truth is an act of courage, I actually think it's a huge opportunity. It's going to be really fun watching you build it, and I know it's probably daunting, and exhausting, and exciting, and all those things, and it's one step in front of the other, but however I can help, and however we can help, and we'll see you back here in a few months. Deal?
Lauren Teague 40:18
All right, you're on. And, in the meantime, if you have a good couple of vintage shops that are down there in San Diego, I'll fly in and shop for a day and talk to some store owners.
Ryan Berman 40:27
All right, cool. Yeah, we got some spots. And I'm also thinking about sports memorabilia, there's so many staying away from it.
Lauren Teague 40:36
Mm-hmm. Oh, it's so hard to authenticate autographs in memorabilia, so we're going hats, or [Inaudible 40:42] just apparel. If it's autographed, I don't care. I don't have the resources to build the AI tool to authenticate signatures at scale. Just like there's certain platforms, Depop, and Poshmark, and The RealReal, they literally have warehouses where they authenticate merchandise, even GOAT has to authenticate sneakers, that is just not something I want to deal with yet. So, there's a lot of other ways to expand it, and that is not one that I'm super excited about. But, who knows, if that's what you guys want to use the platform for, then we'll figure that out pretty quickly.
Ryan Berman 41:20
Spoken like a true listener. Give the fan what they need, what they want, right? All right, Lauren. T, thanks so much for joining us.
Lauren Teague 41:28
Ryan Berman 41:28
Happy, Happy, new year- new you.
Ryan Berman 41:31
Thanks for tuning in to this episode of The Courageous Podcast. If you enjoyed the show, don't forget to rate and review us on Apple podcasts so more people can find us. See you again next week.
(Outro music 41:42-41:56)
[End Of Audio]
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