The Johnny Slicks Story
I'm John Raushi and I am Johnny Slicks.
I was in the Marine Corps from 2012 to 2016. I got really big in the hair products, enough so that a business reached out to me to do photos. I was putting product in my hair probably about seven-eight times a day. One morning I woke up and realized that the hair on my scalp was thinning. Now if you look at my hair, I should not be going bald. I have luscious locks. At that moment something clicked in my brain. I was like, I got a look at the ingredients on the products I'm using. I learned that the product I was using had plastic, alcohol, formaldehyde, all these other ingredients, preservatives that were cheap, called filler ingredients. I switched over to organic.
Now a four ounce jar of organic Pomade will run you maybe about forty something dollars. It was just too much at the time so, organic...that means I can probably make it right? That thought led me down the path where we are now but the thing was, that path was very very long and very difficult.
During my transition out of the Marine Corps, I decided to go to barber school. I learned that hairstyling was actually more of an interest to me. I took it upon myself to study that on my own and ended up leaving barber school to start making formulas and studying chemistry, aromatherapy, and psychology.
No money. No money in my bank account. So, what was I supposed to do? Found out that you can sell plasma for money! I did that, Rebecca also helped, my wife she also sold plasma. There was a point in time where we actually had to sell plasma to purchase lids for the jars just to finish the product. So, I literally ended up putting my own blood into Johnny Slicks.
At this point in time, I was selling plasma we were getting ingredients. BOOM! The product was made. So here I am with the perfect formula of Pomade, but I didn't know how to sell it. I didn't know where to go to sell it I didn't know anything about marketing or shipping or anything so what I would do is I would get my little flea market briefcase and I would drive hours upon hours just to meet with one guy to hopefully make a sale there, which I ended up losing a ton of money. Best month I ever had was around $300 now we can do that in a morning which is unbelievable to me.
So, I really wanted to get into e-commerce, online shopping, and online shipping but I had no idea where to start. The thing was people were not in my area and were not available to me to drive there. There were people in California that would Instagram me and be like "hey I'm interested in your product where can I get it?" so I asked them for their address on Instagram. As long as they were on the East Coast I would charge $5, West Coast I'd charge like $7 at the time. I would hand make it and then go to the post office, buy a box, buy tape, because I didn't do too many so I never bought bulk of it. Package it there and pay out of pocket for it. Losing money like that, it wasn't, it was not smart. Infrastructure was not there. It was not-fra-structure.
One day I reached out to a guy who does beard competitions and he said that his beard is too big. He would need a lot of oil. I could not supply that for his beard. He did tell me that he has a family member who was also a Marine and he's nearby here. He is an influencer for business media and marketing. I messaged him on Instagram...17 times. Six months go by, finally, he reaches back out to me, I said hey I'm local I make Beard Oil, Pomade, I'm also a Marine. Can I come by? He said yeah sure come on by. Shot me his address. That was on a Sunday. That Tuesday, I drove down here with my wife and we dropped off the package. We're going down back to the house, the wife and I, and he shoots me a message and says "hey we just got in, why don't you come on by" I said... uhhh yeah! I'm coming by I'm coming back down. Hooked a U-ey. Came on down, got to meet him.
He asked me a lot of infrastructure questions and like I said I was a no-fra-structure. Two weeks go by after that. He shot me a phone call and said hey we gotta hookup let's meet. We had lunch. We partnered.
A solution was there. Nick Koumalatsos was able to lay out everything I needed for a solution. Knowing what I know now, it's incredible. Within that first hour of the website launch, we doubled monthly sales. It was incredible. I was dancing in the kitchen. I knew at that moment that there was no going back. We started with three products. It was one scented Beard Oil and two Pomades. Now, we're at 38 SKUs.
So, in Johnny Slicks, we were able to create a community of Slicksters. They are proud of the name Slickster and they know that they have brothers all over the world. I never thought me sitting in the kitchen burning up ingredients trying to make a formula would have resulted in thousands of people coming together as Slicksters.
In 2019, we're looking to expand to at least 20 more SKUs to Johnny Slicks. But, also make a whole nother line called Mrs. Slicks. I'm super humbled by everyone's support. I can't wait to see what 2019 brings.
So, thank you. Thank you. You've made this little boy's dream come true.