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Philly Startup PiperWai Solves Your Sweat Problems

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PiperWai
One of Philly’s top startups, PiperWai, was founded by Jess Edelstein and Sarah Ribner, two entrepreneurs with a knack for building a brand and staying authentic. They penetrated the highly competitive deodorant market by introducing a natural deodorant that actually works as advertised. Whether you are health conscious or just a regular user, PiperWai was introduced to solve your sweat and odor problems. The team has no plans on moving anytime soon. According to Jess, “Philly startups are extremely supportive.”PiperWai
PiperWai is a natural charcoal based deodorant free of aluminum and other harsh chemicals that are usually found in conventional antiperspirants. Jess and Sarah started off with a creme deodorant and recently launched a stick applicator by popular demand. Activated charcoal is becoming an increasingly popular ingredient in cosmetics because of the health benefits and various uses. By using it in PiperWai’s deodorant mixture, it absorbs moisture and fights odor without staining your clothes. The essential oils give off a spa-like scent that appeals to both men and women. And, in case you’re wondering, it’s perfect for sensitive skin!I had the opportunity to connect with Jess Edelstein, Co-Founder of PiperWai, and was heavily impressed by the perseverance that she and Sarah Ribner has shown for their brand’s success long before appearing on Shark Tank. From being 9 year old entrepreneurs in elementary school with their lemonade stand to self-made moguls, there’s no stopping Jess and Sarah. As any entrepreneur can tell you, the process is difficult and the hours are long, but the result is worth it’s weight in gold. This is the story of two best friends that embarked on an amazing journey together, and there seems to be no stopping them.Before reaching their height of success with PiperWai, Jess’s day job was a real estate agent, selling houses to make ends meet. When PiperWai first launched, Jess and Sarah worked 80-100 hours per week pumping out the mixture into jars by hand. PiperWai has always been a business that has been bootstrapped, even after appearing on Shark Tank. Their first office was a closet, but expanded exponentially as demand began to rise. Real estate money became less significant and PiperWai became the core focus. Jess and Sarah moved production from making 300 jars at their home office to a copacker to keep up with demand. PiperWai is now the 3rd fastest company on Shark Tank to reach $1 million in revenue and the business has grown 6000% since.You can now find PiperWai in every GNC in the country and every Whole Foods in the Mid-Atlantic region. You can also find them at over 200 independent retailers and online on websites like Lucky Vitamin. When they first appeared on HSN, they completely sold out. Not only is PiperWai good for your body, they do good for the community as well. They donate a portion of their sales to non-profits. Bloggers rave about PiperWai and express how much the natural charcoal based deodorant has changed their daily routine.One of the best piece of advice Jess has is, “Bootstrap everything until you cannot anymore. Work out of your apartment. You do not need to appear fancy early on. Reinvest back into your product. It’s going to be hard. No matter how hard you work, it is going to be difficult. The short term discomfort is beneficial.” Entrepreneurship is not for everyone, but for those, like Jess and Sarah, who persevere and continue to invent in the business, the benefits are astronomical. They enjoy the flexibility of not being chained to a desk. Jess has not set an alarm in 2 years. Entrepreneurship feels more rewarding to these founders, especially after all the effort and looking back how far they’ve come.Finding the right deodorant takes a large amount of commitment, something that these young founders understand. PiperWai went all natural with their product and is quickly cornering the market by outperforming their competitors. Jess and Sarah has come a long way since mixing the PiperWai formula in a closet to the sound of Taylor Swift.
PiperWai

Jess and Sarah in one of the first PiperWai kitchens

PiperWai

Jess and Sarah today

Jie writes about influencers and startups in various industries. She is a designer turned techie, and when she is not writing, you can find her in her workshop working on her next big project.

Influencers

Interview: This NASCAR Driver Started His Own Multi Million Dollar Business Success

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A man influenced by business success, Salvatore Iovino races toward his goals, whether it is in business or motorsports. Like a true entrepreneur, Salvatore began his journey at the age of 18, climbing cellular towers across the country. Since then, he started his own business, Integrated Tower Services LLC, and has turned it into a multi million dollar company. No matter the business success or obstacles in his path, one thing stays constant. He will always be racing. See how he is able to juggle it all in this exclusive interview.

Tell me about your business success.

Integrated Tower Services LLC is a telecommunications company that provides full turn key solutions for carriers such as Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile etc. To give you a better idea of full turn key services. We are the guys that are climbing towers and installing Antennas, Fiber and even building the tower from the ground up. With thousands and thousands of towers across the United States and even the world in what is claimed a very small industry, it's only estimated with roughly 15,000 tower climbers across the US. That makes for a very busy fast paced customer serving industry. We are indirectly responsible for cell phone service areas and rural areas. Basically, without companies like Integrated Tower Services none of would have cell phones. It's a high demanding, risky career as safety is always our #1 priority. Since, telecommunication companies are the backbone to our cell phone service, that means we are on call 24/7 seven days a week. This includes holidays and disaster relief.

What is your inspiration?

Success. I always want to be successful at everything I do. Sometimes, I’m not always as successful as I wish, but that just means you have to work harder. When I see my teammates, friends, colleagues being successful, that is an inspiration for me. Giving back, encouraging others and inspiration all work together hand in hand. Helping a friend reach their goals by encouraging them, is inspirational for me. Being supportive to friends and family is inspirational. Helping colleagues through advice and hard work is inspirational to me because it shows working together or working alone but at the same time helping others is rewarding for many people other than just myself, and that is inspirational.

How do you stay motivated?

Motivation is one thing I think I have truly blessed with the man upstairs. My motivation is a passion. When I set out to do something, I dive deep into it. I can never do anything partial, maybe that is a little OCD, I don’t know. But, whether it's racing or my business, when I set forth a goal, I work very hard to reach that goal, even if there are setbacks along the way. Sometimes I will envision a big picture goal. For example, One day I want to race in the Sprint Cup Series. That is a big goal that will take time, no doubt. But if you make goals within the big picture goal, then you are being successful along the way to your overall original goal. That will leave you with encouragement and inspiration along the way. So make several goals, not just one and will you are successful that will motivate you and if you aren’t a business success as you had wished then motivate yourself to another stepping stone goal. Just don’t give up.

What is your day to day like?

My day to day is usually pretty busy. I travel just about every week for racing. Whether it's NASCAR, Drag Racing, or Dirt Track Racing, there is racing all the time. So I am always on the go. With this, I still carry the responsibility of my business. Luckily, I am blessed with technology in my time era, so that enables me to work and communicate while always being on the go. I only average about 5 hours a sleep a night. I’m not so blessed in the sleeping aspect of life, my schedule doesn’t allow for it and hasn’t for a long time, so I believe I just have became accustomed to it. But, I never start my day without coffee, it's a must. From there my obligations will include Emails, Social Media, Photoshoots, Interviews, Videos, Meetings, Speaking Engagements, Charity Work, Kids and Family.

What is some advice you can give to aspiring business owner who wants to be a business success?

Be prepared for setbacks, be prepared for struggles, be prepared for stress. You must dedicate yourself full-time to what you want to accomplish, make a big picture goal, and make stepping stone goals for along the way. It won’t be easy. I’ve found it more difficult to be a business owner as my company grew. The more your company will grow, the more responsibility you will have, the more money it will take. You have to make risk, without risk, there is no reward. To become a business success, you must dedicate yourself to your customers, you must build on your goals. Keep setting goals, goal after goal. You have to be passionate about what you want to do. You have to love what you are doing. That passion will feed your motivation, your motivation will accomplish your goals, your business success will keep you motivated. You will then become an inspiration to others. Let everything feed on each other. Don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way.

What are some obstacles you’ve overcome?

Too many to count or keep track of. You will or already have obstacles in your way on a daily basis. Become a bulldozer and push through it. Sometimes, you have to learn the hard way, I always did and still do. I haven’t always been successful. I still don’t consider myself successful, because I am still working towards my big picture goals. But, along my journey in life, I’ve been put in rough situations. My family wasn't wealth. I spent my late childhood putting myself in situations I wish I never have. Can't say I grew up on the streets, but where I grew up, it was very easy to become accustomed to a negative life style. For anyone, that is obstacle. Growing up as a teenager in Los Angeles can be rough. I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way, but learning from your mistakes... I’ll stop right there for a second. I want to emphasize something. You have to, it's a complete must, you must have the ability to learn from your own mistakes. Your mistakes are obstacles. You are going to make mistakes along the way without a question. I didn’t finish high school, I kind of consider that an obstacle, a mistake for sure. But, years later, I worked towards and eventually received my GED. I think my best answer to your question is learn from your mistakes, they are obstacles.

What was your proudest moment?

Becoming a husband and a father.

How has NASCAR affected your life?

I don’t believe it has affected my life in any way. I believe it has embraced it. It has given me a new passion.

What was your journey like in motorsports?

I have been very fortunate to have been blessed with setting and still holding several different records in a few of the different types of racing I am currently doing. It has been an awesome learning experience along the way for all types of racing. I wouldn't change any of it. Whether I am winning or losing, it has been very rewarding to me. It's been fun. I have had a ton of support. Support that has motivated me, motivation that fueled my passion to be successful in racing. It won’t happen overnight, but believe, I am working on winning a championship sooner than later.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Racing in the Sprint Cup Series hopefully!

Is there anything exciting happening in the near future?

Lots of racing and I recently just finished building a mini studio at my house. Soon, my website will have live feed access to all my races and I am working on building a youtube channel show called “Juggling Racelife with Family Life”
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Quartz Bottle: The Water Bottle That Cleans Itself

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water bottle
Maybe you’ve finally started getting serious about cutting down on soda and coffee and drinking more water. You may have taken some swigs from a reusable container and wrinkled your nose in distaste afterward. That’s because cleaning water bottles can be challenging — and it’s hard to do it as thoroughly as necessary. Who has time for cleaning tablets and specially designed brushes, anyway? The inconvenient necessity of keeping your water bottle clean is one of the main concepts behind the Quartz Bottle. How does it work and why should you put one on your must-buy list as soon as possible? Keep reading to find out.
quartz bottle

A Light Inside the Cap Cleans the Water for You

Sometimes, the most helpful components of an innovative product aren’t the largest or most visible ones. The Quartz water bottle has a patented UV-C light inside the cap. You might not immediately notice it due to the product’s sleek design, but it’s arguably one of the hardest-working parts of the container.The light is a purifier that neutralizes up to 99.9999 percent of germs in only a minute. You can also choose between manual purification and a cleansing process that happens automatically every four hours. That latter option is especially helpful on days when you’re trying to balance a schedule of yoga practice, taking your toddler to daycare, meeting your business partner over coffee and more — all while knowing you can’t spare a thought for keeping your water clean.

The Co-Founder Has a Long-Term, All-Encompassing Mindset

While reading about the Quartz Bottle, you’ll find that many of the selling points focus on making your life easier. By using the product, you’ll enjoy constant access to water that tastes great and never have to deal with downsides like smelly bottles or cumbersome cleaning techniques again.However, Justin Wang, a co-founder of the company that manufacturers the Quartz, had an Earth-minded view when engineering the item, too. While writing a post about the bottle, he pointed out that people collectively dump one million plastic containers into landfills each minute.Also, if you like to consciously buy things that have large impacts by promoting the greater good, the Quartz is for you. The creators decided that 1 percent of every purchase gets donated to Charity:Water. The organization works to provide people around the world with improved access to safe hydration.

Design Scrutiny During Development

In another interview, Wang confessed having a very relatable problem. He successfully cut down on using disposable water bottles but still found himself reaching for one when another type of purified water wasn’t available or the reusable bottle he had been using became too gross to use.Wang spoke to friends and found their experiences echoed his own. The Quartz water bottle was born when Wang decided to tackle the issues that made him use disposable containers despite better intentions.However, he and the rest of the design team understood it was necessary to poll people in the target market. Only then would they find out about the factors that could turn them into Quartz devotees versus individuals who try the bottle once and decide they don’t like it. Some could fail to even get that far by coming to the conclusion there’s no need to switch to another water storage product because the ones they own are good enough.First, Wang toted a 3-D-printed prototype of the Quartz for weeks and gradually tweaked it. While pretending to drink from it to mimic an actual user experience, he got weird looks but knew the process was necessary.Next, members of the design team talked to hundreds of people and asked them about characteristics they’d identified that could cause problems. The potential issues ranged from a too-wide opening on the top of the bottle to a cap that might not twist easily enough. After taking these issues into account, the designers had a product they felt met user needs and made them feel proud.quartz bottle

A Kickstarter Success Story Based on User Needs

If the story behind the Quartz Bottle fascinates you, you’re not alone. One of the most impressive milestones in the product’s history is how it quickly achieved funding through Kickstarter. In only a day, it earned 600 percent of the total amount necessary to bring the project to life.Most of the Kickstarter content speaks to the clearly defined needs users have. It mentions the double-insulated construction of each bottle that keeps water cold for 24 hours or maintains its warmth for half that amount. Kickstarter page viewers also got details about how their decision to buy a Quartz bottle could save them up to $1,000 per year that they’d ordinarily spend on bottled water.Then, what about people who felt uncertain about whether they’d remember to charge their Quartz bottles to make them keep working? Since each charge lasts up to two months, they only have to make reminders for themselves six times a year. Quartz bottles are compatible with USB outlets, too, so it’s easy to power up the bottle while you’re embarked on a road trip or otherwise away from home.Speaking of taking your Quartz bottle on the go, maybe you’re a backcountry hiker or someone who otherwise needs to exercise special precautions before consuming water. If so, no worries! The Quartz has an adventure mode that increases the purification power for your peace of mind.All these features and others were part of the Kickstarter pitch, so it’s not hard to see why the project gained momentum so quickly. Not surprisingly, then, many customers (12,758 backers, to be exact!) turned their desires into pledges.

How to Purchase a Quartz Bottle

You might think such a high-tech water bottle would be a substantial investment. However, you can get yours for only $79 by pre-ordering it on Indiegogo (Another site that helped the product secure more backers).Choose from several pleasing colors to pick one that suits your personality or intended use. Pre-ordering requires being patient until June 2018 to get your Quartz Bottle, but you know what they say about good things coming to people who wait.Regardless of your current opinions about conventional water bottles, Quartz might manage to change them. Justin Wang and his fellow designers worked hard to create a product that readily eliminated consumer annoyances.This dedication paid off with successful crowdfunding attempts — plus a significant amount of positive press from news outlets and early reviewers.In several months, you might realize the Quartz Bottle makes you feel genuinely excited about drinking water and not polluting the planet while you’re at it. 
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Interview: Max Temkin On Cards Against Humanity

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Brent Knepper Cards Against Humanity
Photo by Brent Knepper for Cards Against Humanity
Hillary Trump Cards Against HumanityInterview with Max Temkin.  If you have ever played the popular card game Cards Against Humanity, you are a horrible person. If you haven’t, prepare to die of laughter. To play, one person reads a question from a black card as everyone chooses the funniest white card from their hand to be chosen. It sounds simple, but with cards like “A big black dick.” and “Not giving a shit about the third world.”, you quickly realize that it is not a game for the weak.
During an exclusive interview with co founder Max Temkin, he tells us about business, Black Friday ideas, and doing things the Cards Against Humanity way. Best known for creating the game, he is also the cofounder of Blackbox, creator of Humans vs. ZombiesSecret Hitler, and Slap .45, and is on the National Finance Committee for Hillary for America. Though involved in politics, he does things a little differently, as you can see with America Votes with Cards Against Humanity. Like a true entrepreneur, the list of projects is endless. He describes himself as just a designer, but to think of him as just that would be foolish. Max Temkin is an inspiration for those aspiring to take their hobbies to the next level.

How did CAH get started?

Max Temkin - I've talked about this extensively in other interviews, but basically, the co-creators of Cards Against Humanity have a long history of making games together, and Cards Against Humanity was the first good one we play-tested. We put it out for free and it gained a cult following. Then we did a Kickstarter.

What are your backgrounds?

Max Temkin - I have a philosophy degree and I work on Democratic campaigns and elections. Some of the other Cards Against Humanity co-creators have backgrounds in economics, science, and advertising.

Why did you decide to create dick jokes instead of working in a different field?

Max Temkin - It was mostly a happy accident! We all still have outside interests, though Cards Against Humanity is my biggest project now.

When was your a-Ha moment?

Max Temkin - I'm not sure what that means! A time that sticks out in my memory that I knew Cards Against Humanity was pretty special was when I was play-testing it at college... I had a bunch of friends over in my dorm room, we were playing it and laughing, and more and more people kept coming over and joining. The laughter was contagious, and people kept coming in attracted by the spectacle. I saw that happen and I knew something special was going on.

How has sarcasm benefited your company?

Max Temkin - Not sure how to answer this one. We always try to find something earnest or authentic to make a joke about, and something that makes us laugh.

What is your on-boarding process?

Max Temkin - Is that like when you hire someone? We don't have a lot of formal procedures. Trin is our events director and is kind of in charge of office morale, so she helps people find their place in the company.Cards Against Humanity staff

Describe your office culture.

Max Temkin - We have a large open office that we built in Chicago, it's a co-working space full of our friends... other designers, artists, musicians, podcasters, and weirdos from around the city.

What is the best way to respond to negative feedback?

Max Temkin - I try not to get defensive and rush to defend myself... I usually take a moment to absorb the criticism, and then translate it into something constructive that I can act on. Sometimes people have constructive criticism that I can't act on, and I just try to make sure that they're heard.

Who are some influencers that you admire?

Max Temkin - I truly hate thinking of people as "influencers," thinking like that instrumentalizes all of the relationships in your life and makes them transactional. I don't know that you can think about other people in terms of being an "influencer" or not, and still view them as honest and emotionally available to you.

What is the biggest lesson you learned since starting CAH?

Max Temkin - It's been very hard for me to delegate and give work to other people... even when they're way better than me. Our design director Amy Schwartz is a much better designer than me, the best designer I've ever worked with, and I really look up to her. I know that she outshines me in every skill. But it's still emotionally so difficult to give up the work.

How do you determine a good employee at CAH?

Max Temkin - We look for kind, funny, and well-rounded people who are first good human beings and second good employees. We value a diversity of experience and viewpoint, and whether people have full, real lives outside of work.

What advice would you give to people trying to start their own business?

Max Temkin - Every good business that you admire figured things out for themselves. They forged their own path and came up with their own way of doing things. Apple does things the Apple way. McDonald's does things the McDonald's way. Cards Against Humanity does things the Cards Against Humanity way. Reading business advice and blindly following what other people did didn't get those companies anywhere, and it won't get you anywhere either. To make a successful company or brand, you need to start from first principles and figure out your own way forward.

What advice can you give people new to crowdfunding?

Max Temkin - Again the whole notion of "giving advice" on crowdfunding is kind of crazy to me. The whole point is to authentically figure out what you're about and how to connect with other people. Some advice I like from Matthew Frederick's 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School is that successful designers learn to make design decisions conditionally - that is, with the awareness that they may or may not work out as you continue toward a final solution.

Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?

Max Temkin - Tough question - I have no idea if people will still be playing Cards Against Humanity or care about us at all in five years. For the last five years, I've had a personal goal of making one small Kickstarter project a year. Sometimes they're really small and personal like my Maxistentialism zine. And sometimes they're huge public projects like my new game Secret Hitler. But I'd like to think that I'll still be doing that in a year.Cards Against Humanity

How did you come up with 12 Days of Holiday Bullshit?

Max Temkin - We needed to come up with some way to market Cards Against Humanity during the holidays that was funny and still had integrity. The first year we did a holiday stunt, it was a pay-what-you-want pack and we made $70,000, which we donated to charity. We felt like the next year we needed to out-do that. The blind subscription, where you pay us and get a series of mystery gifts in the mail, was a nice escalation. We did that for three years and now we're taking a break.

How often do you guys visit Hawaii 2?

Max Temkin - I've never been! I hear from lots of people who have been to visit, and apparently it's really nice during the summer.

What do you do with all the dumb ideas that people submit?

Max Temkin - Mostly we use them as kind of raw brainstorming ideas... I don't think we've ever gotten a crowd suggestion that went directly into the game.

What are some Black Friday ideas that didn’t make the cut?

Max Temkin - We probably investigate a hundred ideas that don't pan out to get to the one that works. The original idea was a $0.01-off coupon, but we ultimately rejected it because we felt that it was still a marketing deal. We always want to do something genuinely surprising and risky. This year's is going to be a doozy.

How did you come up with the idea for The Bigger Blacker Box?

Max Temkin - People asked us for a big box that held all the cards, and over my strong objections, we decided to give them what they wanted. This was the best product we could design that fit those needs.

A few Redditors mentioned that they want to send you beer. Has this happened? Have you received anything out of the ordinary?

Max Temkin - We've gotten all kinds of crazy gifts and things from people. I love that people feel like they have a relationship with us and want to send us stuff, I think that's a sign that we're getting our message out there and our voice is coming through. 
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