Eugene Remm – Co-founder of Catch Hospitality Group and Rumble Boxing
Kara Goldin: Hi everybody. It’s Kara Goldin from Unstoppable, and I’m so excited to have our next guest, Eugene Remm from Rumble Fitness. So excited to have you here. How are you?
Eugene Remm: I’m good, thank you. Thank you for having me. Thanks for making the time. Appreciate it.
Kara Goldin: I was so excited to be able to connect with Eugene. Actually, Eugene and I were on a panel together a few years ago, and you really inspired me, and I mean that from the heart. You were just talking and I just said, “This is an entrepreneur, an innovator, this is somebody that really gets it. This is going to happen.” And I think it was in the early… I don’t know, Rumble had maybe been out for a year at that point, it was pretty a small, just in New York.
Eugene Remm: Well, thank you. First off, thank you for the kind words. And for me personally, I love your product, and honestly, I don’t love many products, but when I am a fan of a product, I’m an ambassador of it, when I get to meet the character and the personality behind it, I really enjoy it because I always find that the product and the person connect. And when you meet the founder or the partner of a brand, you really get to say like, “Oh, I get it now,” and get where the product is.
Yeah, I think we had one, maybe two Rumbles at that time. Yeah, I don’t talk on many panels, and that one seemed like a lot of fun. I love the product. And you and my wife have the same last name, so I figured that was enough to be memorable right there.
Kara Goldin: Wait, is that right? Goldin?
Eugene Remm: Yeah. That is.
Kara Goldin: Oh, that’s so funny. And is she spelled with an I as well?
Eugene Remm: Yeah, yeah, with an I.
Kara Goldin: Oh, that’s so funny. I forgot about that, and somehow connected. My husband actually grew up in Scarsdale, so I wonder… Somewhere in there probably… Is she from New York?
Eugene Remm: No, she’s from Israel, so definitely not from Scarsdale.
Kara Goldin: Yeah. That’s so great. Oh, that’s awesome. Well, we’ll catch up more on that at some point. But so take us back to what made you start to think that you wanted to do this? What were you doing right before Rumble?
Eugene Remm: So I’m currently a co-founder of Catch Hospitality Group. We own a set of restaurants in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Playa Del Carmen called Catch. My business partner and I, Mark Birnbaum started EMM Group at the time in 2006 in the nightclub business, so my background is in the nightclubs. And in 2006, we opened up a club called Tenjune, which was pretty popular in this up and coming neighborhood called the Meatpacking. And from there, we went into the restaurant business and did large format restaurants and big nightclubs. And somewhere around 2015, we had shifted from the big nightclubs and really focused on the restaurants. And had some failures somewhere there in between and closed a couple of our big nightclubs, and really just shifted our positioning towards Catch in a way from like the heavy, heavy, big nightclub, big booze, big DJ type of thing.
So when we made that pivot, I really was starting to have a passion for fitness, still loved hospitality and everything that comes with it, but really was looking for an expressive outlet to do something outside of food and beverage. I was an early investor in FlyWheel, which was a SoulCycle competitor, and still around in some way, and was really enjoying that experience. And I started boxing, and I started boxing with one of the security guards who works at one of the nightclubs. And he was, I don’t know, 6″5′, 280 pounds, Russian guy. I’m from Russia, so we spoke a little Russian to each other, and he would let me box with him. He let me hit him and he wasn’t allowed to hit me, so he could tap me a little bit.
And that’s where I really started to fall in love with boxing. And seeing some of the success around a FlyWheel and SoulCycle and a Barry’s Bootcamp, we thought there was just an opportunity in the boxing space because when I would go to a boxing gym, there were two kinds, there was like the prisoner boxing gym where you get paid $10 a month, they throw a raggedy towel at you and just say, “Fend for yourself.” And then there was a super-premium, $200, $250-an-hour boxing gym where it was really just affluent, upper East side style gyms. There’s nothing in between, and that’s really where I liked to find my sweet spot.
And if you think of Catch or some of our other properties, we elevate something casual, we call it affordable luxury. So we try to take some of the best parts of premium luxury and bring them down and we try to take things that are super common and accessible and elevate them, boxing hadn’t found that balance. And if you think about it and you say, “Can you believe there’s a white space in New York city right now?” There’s everything for anyone at any time. And I actually don’t find it too different from your product, there’s tons of drinks out there, five trillion of them, and they all have different stuff in it, but if you were really just looking for a light, refreshing water with some natural alternative, you’re still, in my opinion, at least one of one.
So it’s very rare that you find that white space, especially in Manhattan, and that was it, and that’s how we got into it. I had asked a friend of mine who was one of the founders of FlyWheel, his name is Jay. And I said, “Jay, I want to go into this business, is it as simple as I understand it? Is it a couple of front desk people, a couple of trainers, a build out, no different than a restaurant?” Then he said, “Yeah, it is.” And that’s how we got into it.
Kara Goldin: That’s awesome. I love that you saw the white space, I always tell people that I think there’s two types of founders or entrepreneurs out there, there’s one that just basically duplicate what somebody else has done and slap a name on it, maybe some different colors, and that’s just never been my gig. I’ve really tried to find these white spaces and try, and I just kept seeing and frankly kept getting frustrated with the choices that were out there that everybody kept pointing to Vitamin Water when I was starting Hint. And I’m like, “No.” This was even before they had a diet version of Vitamin Water. I’m like, “No, there’s tons of sugar. I don’t want to have all that sugar in it.”
I had been drinking Diet Coke for years, but for me it was just trying to find an alternative to water. I aspired to drink water forever, but I just wanted some taste in it. But getting back to your story, I feel like what you guys did was really offer an alternative. You mentioned Barry’s, you mentioned the FlyWheel and the SoulCycles. But I really think it’s also about helping people figure out a new community. How do you do that? Because I feel like in many cases, when I look at a FlyWheel versus like a Barry’s, it’s an either, or. And I feel like with yours, I talk to a lot of people who actually might own a Peloton bike, but then they’re actually going to Rumble too. And I think it’s fascinating because they want the community and they want to be able to sort of-
Eugene Remm: First off, I think it’s always an evolution of something, not a revolution of something. For example, for you’re a liquid in a container with a top that goes into the shelves of grocery stores and online. That existed before you came along and group fitness existed before I came along., so I certainly don’t want to take the credit for creating group fitness. I think brands like SoulCycle and Barry’s Bootcamp certainly led the way in the concept of it, but the evolution of it was to bring it to what you enjoy. You just talked about not having sugars and having a light fresh take to water, right? So you added what was important to you because you are your demographic, and you tried to create a product that was important to you.
In all honesty, all we were trying to do was create a product that was important to us, and that we were missing, so how you do it… It’s funny, Ian Schrager is one of my icons in the hotel space. Oh, the feeling that you get when you walk into a hotel, and then the chair and then the walkthrough. I never thought about it that way, I just thought it’s simply as, “Hey, I love this workout. How can I make this workout accessible to me and the people that are close to me? How do I make something that a 20 year old, a 30 year old, 40 year old black, white, green, blue male, female, super athlete, aspirational athlete can all come and do together?” But, you still need a point of view, so boxing was the glue of all of this.
Boxing was the thing that hadn’t been done previously and that was something awesome. And boxing has history, and hundreds and hundreds of years of history. It has history and every ethnicity, there were amazing Irish boxers, African-American boxers, Jewish boxers, Italian boxers. So the sport itself had history, but it hasn’t had a publicist, is what I would say, in many years where people were thinking about it in modern times. So we took and scraped out something that’s pretty complicated in boxing, simplified it so you still can get the authenticity of the boxing, but brought it into something what most people want, which is to move their body for 45 minutes and to get a great workout and to be incorporated within a group of people.
So honestly, the actual exercise is only one five components that I think of when I think of Rumble Boxing. So number one, well, until the last 60 days, it was your social. Where else are you going to see 60 like-minded people in 2020? You really couldn’t, other than like a Starbucks, there is nothing that uniforms a group of people today. Restaurants are very big or very small, nightclubs, I’m not a big fan of in the way they act these days. So you get your social, you get your fashion. Obviously, the [inaudible 00:11:51] and what people wear and how people look, it’s a big part of it. And whether people don’t approve of it or approve of it, it’s part of it.
So you’ve got your social, you’ve got fashion, you’ve got your music. So it’s an opportunity to hear music in the Rumble way, and we take music very seriously at Rumble. We create our own playlist, and we have a very specific points of view when it comes to music. In its simplest term, we call it the best wedding ever. And the best wedding ever is something where a group of people that are from all different places can get in a room, still have a great time, where it has a point of view but is never so extreme that someone can’t enjoy it. What did we say? We said the social, we said the fashion, we talked about the music, we talked about the fitness, well, obviously the fourth one, and then the meditation. And the meditative state is really where you take 45 minutes, and for the most part are off your phone.
And as my phone tells me every day when I get my shameful report of how many hours I spend on it, it’s a lot. So any opportunity that you have just stay off your phone is a win. So those are the five elements. So to your question of how did we create that community? We were authentic. The first location was in Chelsea. I live in Chelsea. My partners all live and work around Chelsea, and we wanted to create a product for Chelsea. And it was authentic, so it couldn’t be faked, you couldn’t do it on a spreadsheet, you couldn’t make it on a PowerPoint and say, “We’re going to be cool like this and reach 40 somethings and 30 somethings and 20 somethings,” you just have to be it and then the market will follow you.
So I don’t know how to create that other than to live it, and I don’t know how to live it in any other place than New York City because I’ve spent 20 years within those six blocks of that Chelsea location. So if you want to birth something authentically, you generally have to love it and you have to surround yourself with the people who work there to be part of it. And if the people who come in see that of the employees and the ownership, they will buy into it. If any of that is missing, they simply won’t. And you have to be really, really careful…
Now, you can go to Harvard and you can go to Yale and you can go to Wharton and you can find a white space in the market and analyze whatever you want to analyze, but the reason those people buy businesses and don’t create businesses is because they can’t usually be in the pulse of it. And that’s just a big difference.
Kara Goldin: I think that’s so true. Do you, do you feel like building a brand in the restaurant and hospitality business is very different than in the wellness space?
Eugene Remm: No, it’s exactly the same.
Kara Goldin: Interesting.
Eugene Remm: It’s exactly the same. It comes down to a few key elements; authenticity, an awesome product and awesome people who work there, because you can’t reproduce that. You either have to take the time to hire every cleaning person, every front desk person, every trainer, pay attention to every single song, every single slide, every single workout or you don’t. And I think there is no difference between that and a restaurant because if you’re not paying attention to every ingredient and every dish… I think we counted once in the restaurant, I think it’s 72 people are involved in the process from the time you walk into the restaurant to the time you leave to create your meal.
And that’s from the people who get in there at 5:00 AM and start prepping, to the security guard at the front, to the person who washes the elevators before you get in, to the hostess team, to the busser, to the runner, to the 19 different people that are working in the kitchen that simultaneously create the dish that you have, because it’s an assembly line in big restaurants. So you really have to have just great people at the forefront of it.
Kara Goldin: So you started in New York. Obviously, you were living here. I remember when we were starting Hint, I’d lived in New York and then we moved up to San Francisco, I started really at Whole Foods in San Francisco, and my husband being a New Yorker, once he saw this taking off, he said, “You should really go to New York with Hint.” And I was like, “Why?” And he was like, “Because you have to figure out whether or not you have a brand that can make it on both coasts.” And this was 15 years ago. And it’s interesting, I think about this a lot because I feel like retail has changed.
I mean, at that time, Whole Foods wasn’t even in New York City. So we were not jumping into New York at that time, inside of a retailer, we were starting off in the King-Collins and that whole world out in the Hamptons. Do you feel like the coasts are different? You’ve just opened Rumble around the corner actually from our offices on Union Street. Do you feel like gaining customers and figuring out the differences and different marketings, how do you think about that?
Eugene Remm: 15 years ago, they were very, very, very different, and I believe each market needed to be completely scrape to its core and had to be treated as its own independent market. And there are aspects of that I agree with today. However, things that are much more consistent today; music, it’s consistent everywhere. Fashion, it used to be like, this is LA fashion, this is New York fashion, they’re pretty much consistent because what you can buy now you can buy anywhere and digital has really shown you that. So I think time has scraped off the distance barrier through technology.
Kara Goldin: True.
Eugene Remm: So I think there are aspects that are the same and that are different. Let me go into that. So what is the same? What is the same is people who live in urban markets respect what I call a New York hour. And a New York hour means, “Hey, I get this done in a New York hour.” Meaning, “Hey, my fitness is only one hour, I have to get it in and I have to get it out and I want to maximize that time because I have to maximize the rest of my time.” Outside of certain urban markets, you don’t need a New York hour, you have five hours to do one hour of things, so a group fitness experience may not be the most important thing, which is why we really focused on urban markets where people did have to go somewhere afterwards.
So I think that’s why markets like San Francisco really connect to a New York market because everyone in San Francisco works hard a lot and they’d care about their fitness because what’s the point of working so hard and making money if you can take care of your health. So I think certain markets work. I do think there are similarities, I think there are more similarities than differences, but I do think if you just slap your brand in another market without refocusing on who that human is who works as a cleaning person, who that human is that works at the front desk, who your general manager is.
If they do not connect to that local market and you’re just putting in a placeholder and hoping that the hype from New York city brings you over, you’ll be sorely mistaken. And we’ve made those mistakes in the past through many businesses, and I think we continue to make them occasionally. You think of growth and rush, rush, rush, more and more and more and more. And then you stop realizing that you’re actually in the people business, and finding people takes time. So it’s a balance, you have a goal of reaching X amount of locations in X amount of time and really giving your business to the world, but you also need to realize it’s one person at a time.
And as soon as you stop thinking it’s one person at a time, that’s when you start to, no pun intended, water down your product and really start to lose that essence. I always think of it as if my intent as one of the founders is the sun, and that’s the energy, how many layers of shade so the other person gets it. So if that person in San Francisco has 19 people between me and them, are they ever going to really feel that sun? Are they going to feel that core of what the business is? So why I occasionally do podcasts, it’s not to tell anyone how awesome I am, but it gives me an opportunity to communicate with potential employees and current employees and really just, if I can’t have this conversation with them one-on-one, at least it gives them an opportunity to know what it’s all about.
And that’s one of the favorite things that I do these for, is to really get that message out to them. And that goes to anyone who’s just starting, a 19-year-old college kid who wants to…
Kara Goldin: There’s was a little bit of a hiccup on there. Can you hear me okay?
I lost like the first two words, but I hear you great now.
Kara Goldin: Yeah. Okay, great. And we’ll edit that part out. So you talked about there’s the 19-year-old college kid who’s got a dream. People are going to be graduating here soon, and they want to go do a business that they’re passionate about. What would you say to your 19-year-old self who’s trying to figure out what you’re going to go do? And obviously, you’ve launched a bunch of things. I think that the beauty of looking back on your history is that like you’ve had, as you articulated, you’ve definitely had some wins and you’ve had some challenges along the way. And that’s what I would say to myself, it’s going to be a journey and you’re going to see things along the way and hopefully you’re going to learn and it’s going to be okay. But I’d love to hear your take on that.
Eugene Remm: I had a unique version of that. I’m a Russian immigrant, so I came into this country when I was three years old and grew up in Queens and Brooklyn and then New Jersey. Hard work was always something that came easy to me, but the why was never there. So the 19-year-old version of myself said, “I want money, I want success.” But there was never a real why behind it. So to me, work was to get, money equals happiness. And if I could just get that middle thing called money, then I’ll always be happy. Because growing up a lot of the challenges in my family were due to lack of funds and when you had funds, you were happy because you got stuff.
So the 19-year-old version of myself was just listening to hip hop lyrics all day long because that was what I communicated. So what I would tell a 19-year-old is play chess, not checkers. Don’t pay attention to short-term money and think about what’s going to make you happy. There is, I wish there was a postcard right now or a cool quote that I could say that said, “This is for everybody.” But I would say for the 19-year-old version of myself is, it’s a long, long ride, it’s okay to fail. Money is the result of good work, and you need to make sure you do the good work and the money will come. When I was 19, it was just go get money. So I’d always go up to someone, say, “Hey, what do you do for a living?” “I’m in insurance.”
Not, “Do you have insurance? Are you passionate about it? Who are you helping?” “How much money you make?”
Kara Goldin: Interesting.
Eugene Remm: That’s it. “How much money do you make? And can I do this?” Because all I wanted was money. So I would share to anybody, and these are very big clichés, but it’s really important to hear it because you got to find something that you love, you got to find something that makes you passionate. Well, and by the way, there are certain people who I know who are salespeople who could sell anything. They would literally say, “Hey, you want to sell water? You want to sell pens, or you want to sell elephants?” And they’re going to say, “Whatever makes me the most amount of money, that’s what I want to sell.” So those people don’t have a passion for the product they sell, they just have a product for selling, so they should find the thing that makes the most money because their passion is the selling.
My passion is the product, so I only became a decent salesman when I had a product that I was passionate about, and every time I ever had a product that I wasn’t passionate about it, I was average at best, high school, C student, college, C student. So as soon as I found something I was passionate about and was able to put a 24/7 mentality behind it and it didn’t feel like work, that’s when I became successful. So to the 19 year old self, into the 19 year old, whoever, don’t worry about this pandemic right now, this is a moment in time. There’s always a reason why you shouldn’t have something and there’s always going to be a block.
When business is booming, there’s going to be a ton of competition one way, when business is suffering, there’s going to be a ton of competition in other ways. So every one of these situations creates an opportunity, and that’s such a cliché also, well, it was an opportunity, but it’s really, really true. When you talk about, “I’ve had some wins and I’ve had some challenges.” That’s not true. I’ve had a ton of challenges and if you win, but the wins, when you win and you win big outweigh all of the challenges. So I’ve probably lost, I don’t know if you really want to do the numbers, it’s in the nightclub and restaurant business. Again, a five year track record in a nightclub is a good run, but as far as places that are still around, I’m probably batting 200, two out of 10, but the two that are successful are super successful.
And the later on in my career, now my batting average is more like 800, 900 because I’ve learned from those mistakes. So without those failures, without those challenges, you never can understand what the success can look like. So it’s almost a real opportunity to fail as long as you can still get back up. Again, I use a fighting reference, but if it mean you were sparring, if I never throw a punch, then I can never win, but if you throw a punch, you expose your face and you’re possibly going to get hit back. So what do you want to do? Do you want to never throw punches and then just get through it? Or do you want to go for it and occasionally get hit?
So you just want to make sure you will get knocked down, just make sure you don’t get knocked out. And knocked out to me means, something that hurts your name, something that hurts your reputation, something that’s unhonest. Good people fail all the time, smart CEOs, I have not had 100 % track record. Great people have had many failures. Failing is okay, lying, deceiving, ego-driven, making it about you, not about the people you work with, those are the things that can hurt you, not just for that experience, but for many others. So it’s okay to lose as long as you lose for the right reason, but those are things I would definitely say to the 19 year old self.
Find the why you want what you want and be clear if money is your why and the reason you want money is because you want to be happy and successful, you’re going to fail miserably. So please find your happiness and then you will find your cash.
Kara Goldin: I think that that’s so true. We’re actually recording this through the COVID-19, and I feel like when I was thinking about speaking to you today, the thing that I look back on that I really admired in addition to you just being smart and cool person overall is that you moved very, very quickly. I heard a lot of people early on like you said, were sitting here at almost day 60 for some of us, especially the East Coast people in the shelter, in place mode. And I feel like there were a lot of people running businesses who were feeling sorry for themselves and thinking, “What am I going to do now? Okay, I’m going to go out on a hike and who can I hate today?”
And I feel like you guys just move really, really quickly. I felt like within days I had in my inbox this virtual Rumble experience that really people could tap into. How important do you think speed is to… When you’re seeing that something is not going your way, I’ve always been a big believer to… You have a choice, you can either sit there and dwell on something and say, “Poor me.” Or you can figure out, “Okay. Now what are we going to do?” And keep moving. And I admire that you guys did that because I think there’s plenty of other wellness fitness events that didn’t. So how do you think about that?
Eugene Remm: I think about it in a few ways. One, there are jet skis and cruise ships. So if you’re a jet ski, you can’t carry a lot of people, but you can jerk left and jerk right and really get where you need to go really, really fast. And then there’s cruise ships, you got to turn a bunch of knobs, it takes a lot of time, the turn is really, really slow. And that usually happens when you are bloated heavy and carrying a ton of people. So I want to say on the digital front and on the marketing side for Rumble is, we got a great team and Ashley Camerini who is the chief business officer and Sarah Levy, who’s head of marketing, they really took the ownership of making sure that we stayed connected to our customers, because it’s very important that I don’t lie here, I had a little bit of that, “Oh, me. Poor me,” thing for a minute.
So when you have people around you, it means if you go for a jog and we go on a jog every single day together, one day you’re going to feel lazy and I’m going to push you, next day I’m going to feel lazy and you’re going to push me. And if we go together, the probability of both of us being lazy is going to be minimal. So the same thing goes into business. We have great people around us who push us and one day I’m going to feel like a rocket ship and I’m going to lead, and then some of the people who work with us are going to follow it. And there’s other times where they have that great idea and I’m going to follow. So that’s one of the things. So I don’t lead in a dictatorship, we lead in a democracy. So if there’s a decision that someone else wants, I trust them, I go with it.
So that’s the first thing is who we surround ourselves within help to get this stuff done, because if you are a one person show, you’re going to make lots of mistakes. So that’s the first thing. Second thing is, this isn’t my first rodeo, I’m 41 years old. I was an owner of a business in the 2008 recession, and we did not act fast, we did not move efficiently. We had our head in the sand just thought everything was going to be okay. And when our sales dropped, 10% 20%, 30%, 40% and then we thought next week would just get better, again, I didn’t go to a really fancy business school, so I didn’t understand like, “Oh, it’s very similar to the .com crash of early 2000 or the savings and loans crash of the early ’90s” So you just didn’t know.
So what I’ve learned and what we did differently this time is we moved fast, super-fast. So we had decided to close all of the Rumble locations before even the state had said so. And we were just looking around and honestly, I would have loved if some of our peers had done it as well, but then we were just like, “Fuck it, let’s close, we got to take care of… How can we say we’re going to take care of our employees in this company, but yet we just want to throw them out to go into the studios.” And quite honestly-
Kara Goldin: I watched you guys, you lead on that, you were ahead of it and not-
Eugene Remm: I wasn’t going in, so how can I ask something and something that I wasn’t going to do? How can we ask our people on the frontline to do something we wouldn’t do? So it just felt a little bit inauthentic to do that, and at that point, honestly, it just felt like this thing was going to be a minute. So that was on the closing it down, but look, you have to furlough people, you have to do lots of layoffs, it is the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do. And it’s medicine or it’s like eating spinach or it’s like a vegetable that you got to give a kid that he doesn’t want, but it’s what he needs. So in order for us to make it through to the other side and get to the other side of this mountain, we need to make sure that we have the capital to do that.
So I always think of it… I share this with our entire team and I call it the gas in a car. So if we have a full tank of gas, but we spend the next three months just driving in a circle and not going anywhere, that’s a very poor use of gas and you only get one tank. So our position was, “Hey, shut the car off right now. Let’s figure this out and we’ll get more information.” And look, I have a lot of great mentors now that are supportive of me that gives me information. My partner at Catch, he owns Landry, so he owns over 600 restaurants, the Houston Rockets. And I have him and his entire team and he’s probably gone through… Tilman Fertitta, he’s probably gone through 50 of these in some version. And then Harvey Spevak from Equinox who’s there for me to explain, which he’s gone through before.
So when you have all of these different things in place, you can make those hard decisions because they’re really not decisions. A decision is like chicken or steak, like this was either survive or don’t. I didn’t really find it to be such a big decision unfortunately, it just seemed like, one you run into the lion’s mouth and the other one you run away to then fight that lion later. That’s what we went through, it was live, we moved fast, and there are disadvantages to moving fast because there’s some casualties when you move fast. If you’ve move fast and you look back 60 days later, maybe you would have done it a little bit differently, and then you start to second guess some of the decisions you make, but that’s normal. And I can say that we made all the decisions with the best intentions to win for the long-term.
If we could have done some of the things different, absolutely, but the playbook isn’t very big for a world pandemic, and I think we did the best we could.
Kara Goldin: Do you think that these businesses, the online business will continue for you then afterwards? Do you think that that will be an option?
Eugene Remm: Man, if I was smart enough to know what the future holds, I joke all the time, but I don’t find myself to have a very high IQ, but I think I have a very good EQ, so I start to understand people’s behaviors, and right now people’s behaviors are met with a lot of fear. And I’m not saying whether it’s just or not just, I’m not a doctor, so I don’t know, but when you start putting people six feet apart and that’s how the new normal is going to be for the unforeseen future, I’m super concerned about when that moment comes that we’ll be able to get into a room and have a meal or get into a room and 60 people sweat and woo and do the thing they do. So I don’t know when that happens, but it will happen.
So in the between time, I certainly think that digital is one avenue, I’m sure we’ll come up with some others. That’s the interesting thing, when you get into these situations, when you’re backed on a wall, you really could come up with stuff you didn’t think you could come up with before. Like the idea of Zoom classes eight weeks ago was comical, “Wait, we’re going to sit here and you’re going to tell me what to do and I’m going to go like this and like this and I have no equipment and I’m going to do it every single day?” But the world’s changed. And what we are is we adapt, and any business that can’t adapt, will die. And any business that can’t elevate will die, and any business that isn’t heavy with capital right now and unable to secure capital will die.
And that is the mother nature of the business world, and that’s okay. And then new businesses will form and those people will create new companies and people will learn and we will rebuild this thing again. It may be different, it may be the same, but I certainly… And I know that I do not know what the future holds, but I know what today is. Today is a combination of survival, some digital and some thoughtful conversations about what the next six to 12 months look like.
Kara Goldin: Yeah. And I think the key thing for me when I think about this, everything that you just talked about, it was really about the customer, and you put yourself in the position of the customer, which I think is they are ultimately, they are in control, right?
Eugene Remm: Another reason I really wanted to do this because I wanted to record my point of view in the middle of it, because you have a lot of points of view after the fact of what you thought you thought during that time versus when you were actually in it. I’m scared right now and I’m concerned about how business is going to look. Now, in a year when everything is awesome and we’re back on the top of everything, I could look at a bunch of college kids and say, “I was never afraid. I always knew there’d be a vaccine and we’d come back on top and blah, blah.” But I thought part of the importance of this was to record where we were at this time. I thought that was super… But take care of the staff, the staff will take care of the guests, guests will take care of the bills.
If you make every decision leading within that, and by the way, taking care of the staff doesn’t mean, “Hey, pay people their full salary forever, it doesn’t matter.” No. Taking care of the staff means that we can get to the other side of this mountain and be able to employ the most amount of people that we can when it is safe to reopen. That is the true definition of taking care of the staff. And taking care of the staff means not giving a baby sugar every time they want it because you know it’s hurtful for them in the long run. So the long-term health of this business is number one. And how you do that is by thinking about the customer, and if you do that, that is the only 100% certainty in business that I believe if you focus on those two things, as long as it’s a solid business model, you will always make the money. You will always make the money.
But when you start to shortcut what’s best for your employees and how you think your guests are going to react and you go straight to short term dollars, that will lead to long-term failure.
Kara Goldin: Right. 1000% agree. And I think that the trick is always figuring out for any type of business, whether it’s a service or a restaurant or consumer product, is actually figuring out, how is the customer thinking? And I think that the great news for both of our businesses is, I feel like this consumer is actually thinking about health more every single day, trying to figure out like, “Why did somebody in their house test positive and they didn’t test positive for COVID-19?” Or, “Why did somebody get more sick than not?” And I think that the only thing that you feel like you have some control over is actually staying in shape and feeding yourself the right stuff, which is the two things that I think both of our companies are about.
It’s about taking care of yourself and doing the right things. And I think more consumers are thinking about that today and thinking they may have bought Cheetos when they first… We’re in the sheltering in place for the first 60 days, but I think most people I know are actually saying, “Okay, when we sign on to Rumble and do that workout for the first time… ” I think it’s also maybe less intimidating for some people too that they think, “Oh, I can’t show up. I’ve never boxed before.” And they can go on and really do it even if they’re sitting in a house in Connecticut where you might not have a Rumble right around the corner like in Chelsea. And so I think there’s a huge business there as well.
Eugene Remm: I agree. I think there are two extreme customers. I think there are ones who are like, “I want health and I want control.” And I think you have the other customer that’s like, “Fuck it, I want McDonald’s and I want self-pity and I want to load and I want to blame.” And I think there are two different kinds of customers that are all fighting with each other. So it’s like when you watch CNN and then you watch Fox News and they’re reporting the same story and they’re literally talking about it with two extreme different points of view. So I’m really curious which point of view wins. If you go to the middle of the country right now, there’s a lot of people who just think this is one big bag of nonsense.
It’s always interesting to watch the customer react. What I do know for sure is this, if you talk about the new normal, it’s just going to go back to normal. Now, obviously there’s going to be this span where they need to find a cure or a vaccine or whatever that is, but when it is all said and done, people will need what I sell, at least the business that I’m solely in, and we use fitness to create our experience. And I’m in the experience business and we want to get up every morning, our product is experience and we use fitness, and then in the restaurant, we use food and beverage for that, but we are trying to create experiences. So the experience business is having a heart attack right now because we cannot operate, we cannot congregate, we cannot share.
Right now, I see you and I hear you, but I can’t feel smell or taste. This isn’t like a real environment, I can’t fully connect with another person, so it’s limiting. So as soon as we can get past this, I do believe that this world will explode. This is an extreme, we’re extremely distance, we’re extremely talking to as few people as possible, we’re extremely technological. And when we get to the other side, I believe we’re going to be so wanting to be around each other, it’s going to be like, I don’t know, I wasn’t around in the ’70s, but it feels like it’s going to be like the ’70s where everyone’s just going to want to hang out and do their thing, but we shall see. I don’t do well with the stock market, I don’t do well in blackjack, I don’t know, but I walk around and people are scared.
And until that fear can be removed, then I think we’re going to be in a unique challenge where we will be sticking to our small group, we will be focused on our personal health. And I think there’s going to be two ways that people come out of this, they’re going to either come out of it fully healthy, enlightened, appreciative, rock stars or they’re literally going to go back to thinking about their Instagram posts and their day and what they’re going to have for dinner and how they’re going to do this and how they’re going to do that, and is Suzy making more than Billy? And is Billy doing more than this? So I think there are two kinds of people, there’s the person you talked about, which I really want to… Those are awesome customers and I hope we pursue them and then there’s the other customer.
Kara Goldin: Yeah. And I think time will tell as to where it ultimately goes, but I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful that we’re starting to get people to really be thinking about more and more that you need to move, you need to feed your body with the right things, otherwise you end up in a place where you ultimately don’t want to be. And I think getting much more serious about it, it’s something that I’m really thinking about. Well, listen, I’ll ask two more quick questions, and I think you answered a lot of these along the way, but what makes you unstoppable?
Eugene Remm: Insecurity, that’s no. Truth is, the only thing that makes me unstoppable are the people that I surround myself with. I hire and I partner and I work with awesome people and I spend a ton of time making sure that we hire and that we work and co-create with really good people. And me by myself, I’m nothing without the people that I work with. And honestly, that’s not just a cliché answer, but it’s the truth. If anything, I’m just a really good middleman that can connect a lot of great ideas and I’m a seamstress and I could just put a lot of great cross in material together to a wonderful dress, but they are the material that makes it
Kara Goldin: Well, and you put an amazing brand, an amazing team together and I admire everything that you’ve done.
Eugene Remm: Thank you.
Kara Goldin: And very last question, what’s your favorite hand flavor?
Eugene Remm: Strawberry
Kara Goldin: Okay. There you go. strawberry-kiwi, yeah
Eugene Remm: No, no, no, hold on. strawberry-kiwi, and then there’s watermelon. The watermelon is my favorite because I don’t like lots of flavors. I just think water with dinner is the most boring thing on earth, so I just want something in it so that that little hinge of… Oh, that little hinge, got it. A little hinge of it is awesome, but please stay stocked on Amazon and tell them to speed up those delivery times. I don’t want to wait two weeks for it.
Kara Goldin: Yeah. We are actually an essential product, so you shouldn’t be waiting at all because they prioritize essential products, but also drinkhint.com, you can go to our website and order everything that we do on there, no one gets prioritized in front of our customer.
Eugene Remm: Awesome. But I love the product, I’m a big fan of yours and what you do. I’m a big fan, I just love, you create stuff that I like and when I got to meet you, know already I love the product, it was just awesome. So I really enjoyed this conversation. Thanks for making the time and stay safe out there.
Kara Goldin: Thank you. And stay well and we’re rooting for you guys and excited to come visit you around the corner when we get back.
Eugene Remm: All right. Have a great day.
Kara Goldin: Yeah, you too.
Eugene Remm: Bye-bye.
Kara Goldin: All right, talk to you soon. Bye-bye.
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