Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Aaron Marino, Founder of Pete & Pedro, located in Marietta, GA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm Aaron Marino, the founder of Pete & Pedro - a premium men's grooming brand that sells hair, body, shave, tools, and fragrances for men. Pete & Pedro is a Shark Tank-featured brand. We target men in the 18-35 range typically (but it is much wider), looking to help guys boost their confidence by helping them look their best.
Tell us about yourself
I've always been into fitness and entrepreneurship. That's what I wanted to do my entire life. I first opened some gyms, and they did not succeed. I actually went into bankruptcy and, for a while, was driving a beer cart to make means. It really is a rags-to-riches story for me. For a while, I was doing an image consulting business, but it wasn't really making much money. Then, I made my first video and put it on Youtube. I had no idea what would happen from there, but I loved it. So, I started making more videos, but there was no money in it then. I was just doing it to help guys for my small business. But my audience started to grow slowly but surely, and before long, I had a few sponsors reach out to me to see if they could sponsor my video. It was truly a tipping point; YouTube was getting super popular, and I was one of the few games in town. I knew I had to get into something more tangible that I knew a lot about and could promote because it was in that lifestyle/image space. Hair products seemed like the perfect fit, and I connected with a friend of mine who ran a salon to start up Pete & Pedro. A year later, we were live, but I had zero expectations for it as a viable or big business.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is that I've started multiple 7-8 figures businesses that are growing and profitable. I have Pete & Pedro, Tiege Hanley, YouTube Channel, Menfluential, and a few other businesses. I've had some failures too, but I think without the failures, I wouldn't have been able to be so successful with these companies. Pete & Pedro is also a small, tight-knit group, so it is nice to know that I am supporting family and friends.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
I've learned business is hard. It's a grind. There's no magic formula for most to all. Very few companies go viral; for most, it is a daily grind, and those that work hardest succeed. I do not want to be outworked ever. I think consistency is also key, especially when starting. Do something that you can really commit to.
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is key. Power ahead with your strengths and fill the gaps with staff or vendors with your weaknesses. I want to create things, and I don't want to run the day-to-day per se (even if I'm very involved), so I delegate a lot of things now, and I don't like to even do that - it's not easy!
Finally, time is key. Time is super precious, be okay with saying "no" (but do it nicely!). The return on any business/opportunity you have to think about, which I realize more now than ever. There's some cool stuff out there, but if it isn't going to move the needle for me financially, I have to pass, as it is not worth my time. Everyone has a different level, of course.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
My tips are pretty simple. Do it. It's never been easier and less risky to start a business. Start small, though it's also easy to test things out before going all-in on something and realizing that there is nothing there. Networking is key as you grow, which can be critical to your success. Try to connect with people that can add value/learn from and grab lunch or coffee with them. Don't have six channels or marketing tactics all over the place when you start. Focus on 1-2, put all your energy into those, and crush them. Since the team will be smaller, stay focused and crush that hero product in every way possible before adding new products. Also, build a 1st party email/text list and build momentum before you even go live as much as you can. When you officially go live, you'll have a huge head start. Focus on profitability. It's okay to grow slower. For many of the internet world, revenue growth was everything, but they never make any money…then when the money dried up, they never really had a profitable, sustainable business.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.