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Michael Eldridge is the founder of Safety Glasses USA. His experience as a U.S. Marine veteran, auto mechanic and assembly line technician amplified the importance of vision safety. In 2000, he turned his knowledge into one of the internet’s most popular companies for protective eyewear. They have grown to 20+ employees and have supplied protective eyewear and safety equipment to hundreds of thousands of satisfied customers around the world. In 2012, Michael started an online community forum for people interested in EDC (Everyday Carry) called EDC Planet.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [1:15] Jeremy introduces his guest, Michael Eldridge.
  • [2:30] Michael talks about how he first started selling safety glasses online.
  • [9:15] What were the most popular safety glasses then? Now?
  • [12:00] From safety eyewear to expanded safety options.
  • [17:30] Michael talks about getting into private labeling.
  • [23:00] How did Michael move from a Yahoo ecommerce store? Where did he go?
  • [26:30] What systems do Michael and his team use?
  • [27:30] Michael talks about building the business and taking it to the next level.
  • [34:30] The toughest hire and finding space to grow.
  • [40:45] Surprising niches that order safety eyewear and the danger of blue light.
  • [44:20] The value of a good mentor.
  • [46:17] Don’t be a copycat, create unique content!
  • [50:00] Michael shares some lessons he learned as a Marine.
  • [57:00] What is EDC?
  • [59:30] A low moment in business for Michael.
  • [1:00:50] Milestones and proud moments along the way.
  • [1:02:15] Take care of your customer or someone else will!

In this episode…

What does it take to build out a small startup into a growing and thriving ecommerce business? Is it as hard as it sounds? What lessons can be learned from the process? On this episode of Inspired Insider, you’ll hear from entrepreneur and innovator, Michael Eldridge. In his conversation with Jeremy, Michael opens up about the early days of his startup, how they expanded to provide more safety equipment, how he grew the business over the years, the value of a good mentor, why it’s important to create your own content, and much more! You don’t want to miss this fascinating episode with Michael!

What were the early days of building an ecommerce business like? How did businesses thrive without all the tech, tools, and apps that are available today? For Michael Eldridge and his business partner, much of it came down to trial and error. They worked hard to find what would work with their niche audience and they were determined to carve out their own corner of the budding ecommerce marketplace. Fast forward a few years later and now their business is known as the go-to authority on safety glasses and additional helpful safety equipment. What can you learn from Michael’s journey?

Where will you take your next business idea? Do you know a product so well that you know you can improve it and help your target audience? After getting to know a niche product like safety glasses for so long, a natural progression is to branch out and start a private label line of products. That’s exactly what Michael and his team at Safety Glasses USA are working toward. They know safety glasses inside and out and now they are excited to bring their unique spin on the product to the marketplace. Don’t let a great idea and a great idea pass you by! Learn from Michael’s example and put yourself out there!

Who has made a significant impact on your journey as a business leader? Have you been the recipient of a helpful mentoring relationship? According to Michael Eldridge, having the right mentor at the right time made all the difference. Michael was fortunate to connect with prolific entrepreneur, Joe Palko. Over the course of their friendship, Joe has taken the time to help guide Michael as he sought to build and expand his ecommerce business. Hearing Michael, you really get the sense that he’s appreciative and humbled by Joe’s investment. If you don’t have a mentor, now might be a good time to consider finding one or better yet, if you’ve enjoyed success, why not consider passing on your hard-fought wisdom to someone else?

Let’s face it, one of the worst things about the internet and ecommerce businesses if coming across all of the copycats and unoriginal people who go in and copy and paste the hard work of others. What can you do to push back against the growing wave of low-quality content? Produce your own content or hire someone to do it for you! Don’t take the easy way out, learn from Michael Eldridge’s example and lean the power and significance of putting high-quality content out there with your name on it! This goes beyond a legal issue, it speaks to the heart of who you are as a leader. Impress your target audience and take the time to produce content you can be proud of, you won’t regret it!

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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