Matt Grech-Smith – Co-founder & Co-CEO of Swingers

Episode 201

Some challenges help you learn what you are made of. Today’s guest, Matt Grech-Smith, co-founder and co-CEO of Swingers, shares how flexibility and a commitment to figuring things out are just the ingredients needed when you don’t know where to find the answers. Matt shares how teamwork allowed his company to weather this storm and how focusing on that helped his company grow during even the most challenging times. So much to learn from this episode of #TheKaraGoldinShow

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Matt Grech-Smith 0:00
You realize that actually there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you build back towards it, I am

Kara Goldin 0:06
unwilling to give up. That I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be, I want to just make sure you will get knocked down but just make sure you don’t get knocked out knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi, everyone, and welcome to the Kara golden show, though. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go. Let’s go. Hi, everyone. Its Kara golden. And we’re here today for the karat gold and show with my next guest who is so awesome. I’m so excited to hear his story. He is dialing in from the from the UK, Matt Greg Smith, and he is the co founder and CO CEO of a company called competitive socializing. But he has this amazing, amazing brand that had started in London, but is now in the US and is coming to more spots in the US and it’s called swingers the crazy golf club. It is super, super great. And I’m excited for them actually to open in New York as well by the spring but you can go right now to DC mount. We’ll talk a little bit more about that. But as I mentioned, Matt is the co founder and CO CEO of competitive socialising, which is a UK based company that is combining indoor sports with great food and drinks. And they’re also the parent company for the brand swingers. And it’s an incredible place where you can do mini golf and like I said, Get cocktails, they have street food and lots of fun music. So he co founded it with partner Jeremy Simmons in 2014. And they launched it as a five month pop up in London’s Shoreditch neighborhood. And it was such a success that he decided why not come across the water and open it in the US which I am so excited that he did. And before entering into the world of hospitality. Matt was in marketing, founding rough Hill, a youth marketing and experiential agency. And he was also a consultant at seed marketing. So really digging in to kind of what people are looking for and trends is as well. He was also listed just as some of to name off some of his accolades. He was listed as one of the Sunday Times mas Irati 100. And which recognizes game changing entrepreneurs. Matt, did you get a Maserati?

Matt Grech-Smith 2:57
You don’t get a Maserati, what’s that about?

Kara Goldin 2:59
I mean, what is that about? Right? I’m so excited to have you here. So I will be quiet now or will continue asking you

Matt Grech-Smith 3:07
I like the way you were explaining it. I was I was really enjoying it. I was riveted.

Kara Goldin 3:11
I love it. So welcome.

Matt Grech-Smith 3:14
Thank you. Great to be here.

Kara Goldin 3:15
So let’s start at the beginning. So who who was Matt, you grew up in the UK. Tell tell us a little bit more about you know, that the entrepreneur and the younger version of yourself?

Matt Grech-Smith 3:27
Well, I grew up in a village outside a town called Tunbridge Wells, which is about an hour from London. So it’s kind of a commuter area. And people would get the train from the leafy area that I lived in into central London and my dad was one of those people. He is a lawyer, and my mum also as a lawyer. And it’s funny I when I think was I entrepreneurial as a kid. It’s a really weird mix, because my instinct was to say, No, I absolutely wasn’t, I kind of just did my thing. But the more I thought about it, I realized I was always hustling in some way. I was I had a paper round, which when I was thinking about it paid me 15 p per paper that I delivered, which was big Sunday Times I was loading onto into bags, and cycling around this village, which now I just don’t think you’d get away with having a 14 year old kid laden down with newspapers, delivering the round in quite that way. I was always selling something looking for an opportunity. And weirdly, when I was at school, people were talking about business and I would think it was this completely different thing. I was never that good at maths when I was at school, I always you know where they set you into different classes according to ability. I was always kind of near the bottom. And it was this weird thing where I thought I’ll business will be for other people. You can’t do business if you for some reason. If you can’t do trigonometry and you can’t do algebra that you’d never be able to do Business and it was this kind of remote concept. But then, as I kind of progressed through school and to university, I realized that there’s actually no trigonometry and no algebra involved in business or very rarely. And you just need to be able to add and subtract, which I could do. And when I was in college, I found myself setting up a business. So I guess there was an entrepreneur in there after all,

Kara Goldin 5:23
what was your business in college?

Matt Grech-Smith 5:24
So this was a the business you mentioned, they were called Rough Hill. And we started out by organizing club nights for students. So you would get bars in these college towns, which would be really busy on weekends, but during the week, they would have no footfall. So the deal was, they would say, we’ll put on some kind of drinks promotion, which to give you some context was usually along the lines of a single vodka and a mixer for one pound 50, or a double vodka mix for two pounds 50. So it was kind of aimed at the price conscious binge drinker, which a lot of college students were, but we would create a brand we would put DJs on. And we would market it throughout these college campuses as the place to be and get big numbers of people into these venues. So these were weekly events, and they would do between one and 2000 people at each event. Wow. So we built up and we built up. And I think by the time I came to do my final exams at college, I think we were probably running in about six or seven cities and turning over about 250,000 pounds, which is no $400,000 a year. So I somehow managed to get through my exams actually did pretty decently. And it became a full time business after we left college.

Kara Goldin 6:50
That’s wild. What inspired you to start a business in college? I mean, what drove you to do it? Or? I don’t know, money was a curious I mean, like, where do you remember, like,

Matt Grech-Smith 7:02
I don’t think it was money, I think it was, I got introduced to the concept of running a club night by a friend of mine who was doing one. And he was doing it for the love of music. It was a kind of a funk soul night, and he needed someone to help him organize it. And there was something about the augurs organizational side of it, the efficiency, I wanted to come in and run it better and make it better. And I could see opportunities. So while my friend was kind of out talking to the guests, and making sure the music was just right, I was in the background kind of trying to make it the best possible event. But then obviously, if you run some successful events, then you can make some money from it. And that’s quite nice. That feeling of success and being part of something that’s working. So I guess it kind of fuels from there.

Kara Goldin 7:54
Yeah, no, I think it’s the traction of it too. It’s, it’s, it sort of drives you that you start to get this formula. And then maybe the next time you do it, you tweak the formula slightly, and then you’re actually adding on to it. So it’s funny, I had a Amanda Freeman on here a couple couple months ago and she started a brand in New York called SL t. That is an exercise studio. It’s pretty successful. It’s on. It’s on reformers. And anyway, it’s the hardest class you’ll ever do in your life. It’s it’s crazy. And she’s like a serial entrepreneur, she started a bunch of different things, but she went to university and she started delivering pizzas. And, and she said it was like the same kind of thing. Like she just figured out like part of it was money. But for her like she figured she it was like the social aspect of it a little bit like she started meeting people or said really like you actually met people when you delivered pizza. And she said, yeah, people were asking her Hey, do you want a slice and like this whole conversation around it, but she said for her it was even more interesting how she could do like, like add ons to different parts of it. Anyway, I just found

Matt Grech-Smith 9:11
Yeah, I think I could relate to that because I I think when I got to college, I had a shock about how few hours you actually had to do as part of the college program. So I was doing a degree in English literature and politics. And I think I had maybe seven or eight hours of contact time with tutors in between lectures and tutorials every week. And then obviously you have to do reading as well but it all felt very relaxed and very slow. And I think I just needed something with a bit more energy I needed a project something to get involved in so I just made the most of my time and did my degree and ran a business which I love looking back seems strange but at the time it made perfect sense.

Kara Goldin 9:55
Yeah, and probably a lot of things that you learned along the way in terms of you know, man and budgets you could, you know, if you’re doing flyers, I guess that was probably more. Right? And it’s just how much are you going to spend for that? versus how many are you going to get out? You would know what the return was. But I it’s such a valuable experience. So you left school and and eventually transitioned into an ad agency, what were you doing for the agency?

Matt Grech-Smith 10:21
So we were, when we were running rough Hill, this clubnight business, we were doing a huge number of events every single week, probably 2530 events, which as I said, range from about one to 2000 people. And then kind of engine of that the way that we were making it happen was by having this youth marketing team in every college city that we were in, in the UK, so and they were made up of all the kind of the key people as we that we identified. So it might be people on sports teams, people in different clubs and societies and on different lecture programs. And so we would go and find kids who would then promote it to their peer group. And through that, we kind of got noticed, to start with by brands, who would say, hey, we really want to reach the youth audience, and it’s a bit of a dark art. We don’t know how to do that, can you help us. And then eventually, a few agencies said to us, oh, you can reach the youth market in this cool, credible way. And we started talking to them. In the end, one of them acquired us. So it was a big ad agency called VCP, who were top five top 10 in London. And they were looking to build out their roster of expertise. And so by acquiring us, they got to add youth marketing, but they could also take our event expertise, and bring that in house as well. So they bought us We joined this huge London ad agency, which was kind of a shock to the system. But so carried on running the business, but then they helped us develop out the youth marketing, but also the brands that they had would come to us and say, We are online and kind of household brands help us to create events help us to Greg create experiences. So that’s what we did there.

Kara Goldin 12:17
So one of the things that you did and you became known for was competitive socializing. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Matt Grech-Smith 12:25
So that was, as we were coming out of our time within the agency, we were finishing our earnout. And we that being in an agency was kind of tough. And it was, you know, we spent a few years where we weren’t masters of our own destiny, we’ve been used to running our own thing. And we learned a huge amount while we were within the agency, and I think it professionalized us a lot. But we were desperate to get back to doing our own thing. So we had this unique perspective where we knew how to create experiences, and we knew about nightlife. And so we looked around the market thinking, what are we going to do next? And at the time, you could play in London, you could play ping pong and have kind of a ping pong bar. Or you could go and do upscale bowling. And we said, what if you could play what we call crazy golf and Americans go mini golf? What if you could do that in a really cool theatrical, immersive venue, where the food and drink is amazing. We’ll bring you cocktails while you play. And it’s an incredible, incredible experience from start to finish. And we suggested it to a few friends, we said to our friends, if we did this, do you think we’d be good? Like, would you come and play Crazy golf, drink cocktails and be great burgers? And it was a universal? Oh, my word? Yes, we would. And we were used to being in an ad ad agency where we were trying to sell ideas to people the whole time. And you’re always having to convince people and do these pitches, and they’ll be like, I’m not so sure. And you’d be kind of just selling all the time. And then suddenly, we were saying to people, minigolf. A night out. We’re minigolf burgers, cocktails, what do you think? And people were like, yes, I would do that. I will, please will you do it so I can book for my birthday. So that was the kind of genesis of the idea and it kind of grew from there.

Kara Goldin 14:17
That’s awesome. Was there anybody else who was doing golf?

Matt Grech-Smith 14:21
No, we, we were the first. So yeah, it was nice to have that first mover advantage. And this was the end of 2014. And we decided to test the concept by doing a pop up first of all, so we found a warehouse space that was 7000 square feet, in short, it said which is in East London, and we built out and it was one course. And then we beamed it like the English countryside. So we built a clubhouse within the warehouse as well. And we had brought in to street food brands, because like I said, we wanted the food to be awesome and often when you do these kinds of experiences leisure experiences, the food can be pretty hit and miss. And we wanted the UI to be really good. And so yeah, we had a course to bars clubhouse to street food vendors. And we started marketing it. Like I said, September 2014. And we launched with a website that was called the nudge, who had a subscriber base of 15,000 people in London. And they were all people that wanted to find out about the next big thing in nightlife. But there’s email went out saying swingers is coming. This is how it works. And that email still today their most shared email, because it got forwarded another 140,000 times. And it was basically people sending it to their friends saying, We’ve got to do this. We’ve got to do this. This looks like it’s a whole lot of fun. So yeah, it’s great. Our website crashed. We were completely overbooked. It was a logistical nightmare, but a good logistical nightmare. If there’s such a thing.

Kara Goldin 15:55
How was it different than what you had done in college? I mean, what did you you know, from from doing? Bars? I mean, I guess maybe the amount of time, right that booking I mean, it’s all day, it’s not like a

Matt Grech-Smith 16:09
so yeah, the two big differences? Yeah, well, it’s like an event that never ends, or, you know, the pop up was always scheduled to be five to six months. So it’s an event that goes on for five or six months, which is kind of crazy to wrap your head around. But you can that bit, it’s kind of easy, easier to get to grips with. I think the key difference was when we were doing these club events. At college, we all we were doing, we were selling the tickets, and we were getting people through the doors. But when we were putting on a DJ, but after that, we were kind of giving the attendees to the venue and saying they’re your problem. Now you run this venue, you get them drinks, you make sure it’s all run very safely, and there’s no health and safety issues. And suddenly, we became the operator in this context. So we were running the bars, we obviously weren’t running the food because we were bringing that in. But the whole venue was ours to run them figure out and with that comes till systems and ordering liquor, and you know how to build a venue that’s going to last for five or six months or longer. So it was we’d always said, why would you operate a venue when you could just promote it? And then here, we were suddenly with our own venue, and people desperate to come to it. And then we started looking for proper permanent locations.

Kara Goldin 17:31
Wow, I love it. And so how many locations now do you have in the UK,

Matt Grech-Smith 17:34
we just have two in London, we have one in the financial district, which is kind of Central East London. And then we have one in the West End which right by Oxford Circus and Regent Street. So kind of the prime shopping area area. And these venues. They’re like 20,000 square feet. So they’re big. They’re big beasts, and they so they neatly straddle central London, and each one’s got too many golf courses for food vendors. 100 Plus staff. So yeah, we’re not in we’re not probably not gonna open another one in London for a little while, especially on the back of the pandemic. So, but that that’s, that’s a whole lot of business we can do from those two. Yeah,

Kara Goldin 18:15
we’ll get to the pandemic in a second. But I’m so curious. So you opened once you open the one in Washington, DC,

Matt Grech-Smith 18:22
that opened in June of this year. So we’ve been open three, four months, something like that,

Kara Goldin 18:26
and how has that been? I guess, let’s start in on the pandemic. I mean, first of all, launching during the pandemic, I mean, how, how was that?

Matt Grech-Smith 18:36
I mean, the pandemic was crazy. It kinda affected us more in London, because we were trading and business was good. And we’d, we had two sites open in London, we’d done a fundraise not so long before. So we were in a growth phase, we were all about making plans, and we were looking ahead. And it was this business that we’ve been working on for nearly, I guess, seven years. And you know, it’s like when you build a business, and it’s block by block and hire by hire and finding all the right people, and then suddenly overnight, it ground to a halt. And we we shut our doors and we turned off the lights and in London, you know, nobody, it was a long long lockdown. I think it was longer than a lot of the US lock downs. And we were we were in and out. So it was soul destroying to start with because we had to kind of dismantle the business in part there were we couldn’t employ carry on employing everybody in the business, although, luckily, the UK furlough scheme actually was quite supportive in the end. And it was just a lot of uncertainty. We, you know, no one had any visibility over what was coming. And so we had to try and look after our team who we couldn’t see in person who were made up of a lot of people in their early 20s sat at home in their bedrooms with nothing to do. So. It was it was a crazy period and then We opened and closed a few times in London with varying lockdown phases. And all the while in DC, we were still fitting out our location because construction kind of went back to normal in the US relatively quickly. And so we only opened our DC locations slightly later than planned. And there we were just waiting on the local city regulations to kind of allow us to open in the way that we wanted to. But we opened in June. And we were really lucky, actually, because it was the a lot of the regulations got relaxed a week or so beforehand. So our launch party was one of the first launches that we had, that people have been to in the in DC in a while. So there was a lot of enthusiasm for us to come to a venue like ours, because it was one of the first party’s back.

Kara Goldin 20:55
That’s terrific. How, how do you think it’s changed in terms of the everything from you know, how you welcome guests? I mean, is there from a? Like, do you do you ask people not to switch clubs are in you know, all that kind of stuff? I’m so curious, like, has it been difficult for you to put these processes in place? Obviously, it’s necessary. But was there a lot of extra stuff that you had to do in the background in order to change your business in any way?

Matt Grech-Smith 21:31
Yeah, there was, I mean, I think there was a lot of, like, you say, this kind of hygiene stuff, which is really important, and people just want to feel safe when they go out. And they want to see that hygiene is being taken seriously. So yeah, that’s become a big component, extra layers of training. And, you know, they’re all good things to be doing anyway. And they will last now in perpetuity. But then also just, we had to go through these barriers, phases of people could only order while sitting down or you know, people, whereas we’re used to being a bit more of a bar environment, we had to come up with systems for ordering, so people could stay seated. And so we’ve thought about tech a lot in our business. And although our experiences itself is essentially quite analog, you know, you’re playing mini golf, you’re hitting balls with clubs, we it’s quite a old school experience, we have windmills and trees, and it’s, yeah, it’s quite traditional. around it, we want to make sure that tech really helps the consumer experience. And so we’ve brought in QR codes, and we brought in a web app. So when you can sit down, you can order you can order food and drinks, and they’ll be brought to you. So we’re just always looking at the ways tech can help the guest experience and that has definitely been accelerated by the pandemic and the impact of it. Absolutely. So

Kara Goldin 23:03
you it’s still set up the same way you’re not missing. Guests aren’t missing out on anything. It’s more behind the scenes stuff.

Matt Grech-Smith 23:10
It’s essentially the same experience in DC at the moment, there’s a massive mandate. So that’s definitely making things challenging. Because if you’re moving around the room and you’re not eating and drinking, you do have to wear a mask. And that doesn’t link easily into their social experience. But no, right at its core swingers is still the same beast that it was pre pandemic, which is great.

Kara Goldin 23:28
Yeah, definitely. I feel like people are still functioning with the mass, though. Definitely inside of, you know, in multiple cities. I’ve been in many cities throughout the last few weeks, which still have massive mandates inside restaurants. And it’s a people are still functioning and talking and socializing. They’re not allowing that to stop them. So I think it’s an important you know, thing to remember that.

Matt Grech-Smith 23:58
It’s, it’s so interesting to see how the mask mandate impacted things because we were trading in DC before the mandate. And we knew there was a possibility one might come in and we thought, well, people will just carry on now they’re like back out of lockdown. People just carry on. And what we didn’t kind of expect was that as soon as the mass mandate came out, all our corporate business dropped away, because as a corporate entity, if the city is telling you that there’s a panic, you know, there’s risk and that there is an increased risk of infection. You can’t really in good conscience, gather your employees together for some kind of event. So the corporate business dropped away, but we’re seeing privately consumers, they’re not feeling the risk there. They’ve been stuck at home for a long time. They want to get back out so people can either book as a group through our sales team to come to us or they can buy tickets online, and the online tickets are still selling like crazy. It’s just the corporate Can’t hold events in quite the same way. So it’s interesting to see that dichotomy and you kind of need the local, you know, the city council or whatever to say, actually, you don’t need to wear masks anymore. And then the corporates will get their confidence back, and we’ll get our all our business back.

Kara Goldin 25:15
Yeah, I mean, I think 2022 A lot of people are booking those things. And I think, I don’t know, I personally think they’re still going to go on. Yeah, I think people, I think corporations are getting a lot more comfortable in the US. I can’t speak to the UK, but as to what they will allow their teams to do, because I think a lot of people are really feeling like they need to get people back together. And they’ll do it in a smaller scale. So smaller meetings, but definitely I feel like it they’re definitely starting to come back. Because I think people believe too, that whether you have a mask mandate or not, I think people believe that, you know, to some extent, this is not going away, right? It’s it’s not for the foreseeable future. And we’re going to have to always, you know, be ready for that in some way. So

Matt Grech-Smith 26:03
the UK is crazy right now. I mean, we’re talking, it’s mid October, but it’s kind of like COVID didn’t exist. Now in the UK, the regulations have all been relaxed. We are doing crazy levels of bookings in our two locations that people are booking requests most. So it’s strange. And I met a lady from LA yesterday. And she came in for a meeting. And she was like, What is going on here? I can’t believe it. Yeah, and I travel and I kind of get confused about when I’m supposed to be wearing a mask and what the local regulations are. But yeah, London in the UK is currently going off the chart, people just want to have fun.

Kara Goldin 26:42
I was at a conference I just got back from Hawaii. And yeah, it was terrific. But it was on the island of Maui. And the conference actually was about 100 people at the conference. And every morning, we had to go and get the antibody. Or sorry, that the see whether or not we had COVID. And in order to get on the island of Hawaii, you actually have to be vaccinated, I believe, where you have to have had a negative test and, and things are something so there’s a lot, I think even for people that are a little nervous about it, they’re figuring out ways to still go on, run somewhat. And so every day we had to have we had these tests in our room when we checked in and every morning, we had to go and take the test, and to a counter and, and then get a wristband, and you know, everybody function that way. And

Matt Grech-Smith 27:41
it was like life was normal, or it felt very normal, right?

Kara Goldin 27:45
We didn’t wear masks. And it was, I think in the hotel, we had to wear a mask. But the rest of the conference, once we were in the rooms, you didn’t have to wear a mask, because everybody had had this testing done. So I again, I think people are really in this phase of saying like, we’re not going to stop, we’re still going to do this. And you know, we’re how do we live with it? Right? We’re gonna have to figure out what way we can live with it. So anyway, but so what do you think? I’ve heard you say that you still have to push through, right, you have to continue to push through, obviously, you opened up a new center. And, you know, even with these massive mandates, I I often think about, like the most challenging times are really, especially as an entrepreneur and a leader is when we really not only learn a lot about ourself, but about kind of things that we’re meant to learn. And if we go back and look at, you know, even what you’ve learned over the last 18 months, it’s it’s a how do you think it’s prepared you in some way that maybe you just didn’t really know this about yourself prior to this period of time?

Matt Grech-Smith 28:57
Yeah, that’s a good question. I mean, the roller coaster that everybody’s been on through this period. And like I said, we were in this kind of growth phase where we were thinking, this is the future, and we’re going to expand and we had all these amazing plans. And overnight, the venues went dark. And you know, there were a few weeks where I thought I genuinely don’t know what the future looks like, is the world going to return to normal? When it when some kind of normality comes back? Are people gonna do this mass socializing anymore? Like maybe we’re done, but this might be the end of the business and who saw it coming? And then you realize that actually, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, a new build back towards it. So it was, you know, a long way back. And I’ve definitely learned a lot about resilience. And, you know, it was, it was tough that period of trying to figure out how the business was going to survive. Like, I can’t, you know, my pandemic, I can’t complain and there are people that had really tough times and did amazing things. My it was personally a challenge, just that kind of trying to figure out how to make the business survive and sitting on endless zoom calls for essentially a year in London trying to make it survive. But it we really learned a lot about who, how we work together as a team and a lot about everybody within our organization. And we looked out for each other, and we communicated with each other. And it was amazing that all the investment that everyone put into each other over a number of years really kind of paid off. And people dug deep. And everybody really gave their best to try and secure the future of the business. So it was just about that collective purpose. And, you know, you really realize how investing in a team over a period of years, can pay dividends, when you get to a difficult moment like this.

Kara Goldin 30:59
Definitely. Did you feel like you lead differently during this time? And like, Did you different than, I guess the day that you were shut down? I mean, did you feel like as a leader, you had to maybe sort of go outside of the manual of sort of what you thought was like as a CEO, and and

Matt Grech-Smith 31:19
you had to lead from the dark, basically, because everybody panics. And then everyone looked to Jeremy and I to say, what’s going to happen? What’s the future, and we had no idea what the future was looking like, we didn’t know if the business was gonna survive. But you can’t turn around and tell people that. So we said to people, it is going to be alright, we’re going to figure out a way to get through this, you know, these are the next steps we’re going to take. And yeah, it was we were walking in the dark, essentially. And people would say to us, what’s going to happen with this? What’s going to happen with that? You think I know no more than you do? I don’t get any kind of governmental updates. There’s no kind of hotline for entrepreneurs saying, Okay, this is what this is what’s going to happen next and this pandemic. So I think it was that kind of blind faith. And in the pre pandemic, you always knew roughly what was going on, and you knew where the the direction of travel, and this was, like, put a really brave face on it, smile, and reassure people because, you know, and just take each day at a time.

Kara Goldin 32:26
Yeah, definitely I, I had my own experience during this time to where we’re an essential product and an FDA regulated and essential product in the US. Not all bottled water in the US is actually FDA regulated, right? It’s regulated by the states. But because we use fruit in our product, we’re regulated by the FDA. And so when you go into pandemic status, which in my lifetime has never happened in the US, you have to run your plants 24 hours a day, you have to use best efforts to support your stores to make sure that shelves are stocked. So while everybody was sheltering in place, in most companies, in an FDA regulated company, during a pandemic, you actually have to tell your team that you’re not sheltering in place, you’re out there. And so I talk a lot about, you know, I, the only way I knew how to lead was actually to get out there myself, and actually make sure that it was safe, and try and figure out strategies to be the safest as possible. So created our own hand sanitizer, because I thought many of them first of all, we couldn’t get them most of in the early days, but then a lot of it smelled rancid. Yeah. And then anyway, fast forward, you know, 18 months, I tell people, we’ve been working through the entire thing, friends, who were not essential workers would say to me, like, can I go to the grocery store? I mean, is it is it really bad? And I’m like, you know, I go first thing in the morning, after no one’s been in the store overnight, and maybe hopefully, you know, it’s calmed down a little bit. The if there is any problems, bacteria problems, maybe hopefully, it’s not sitting there. There’s less people, all of those kinds of things. And so I think, you know, more than anything, I totally agree with you that it’s dark. But as an entrepreneur, I also think that maybe it was dark in the beginning, right? When you first got started, you didn’t sort of you had a big plan. But then the plans changed for various reasons. And so this was just one more chapter in the book, but I think it’s most fun to look back on the times that have been the most challenging because I really do think that it, it makes you stronger, it makes you more resilient to your point. And you’ve done an incredible job and I’m so excited for your success to be coming to the US too and and very excited to visit. You’re one in New York and in the spring Bring as well that’ll be really, really terrific and a great location you said to down in the flat iron.

Matt Grech-Smith 35:05
Yeah, that’s right. We’re gonna be at 29th and Broadway in a basement space underneath the Bergeon Hotel, which is coming soon.

Kara Goldin 35:13
Oh, that’s terrific. That’s really, really great. Well, this is so fun. Thank you so much for coming on. Where can people find like follow you, Matt and then also just find out more about swingers

Matt Grech-Smith 35:25
I’m on social media at Matt Greg Smith swingers is at swingers US website is www dot swingers club. Make sure you take a note of that properly and don’t type anything else because you might see some things but WWW dot swingers dot club. And were open in DC right now. And we’ll be in New York from March next year. 2022.

Kara Goldin 35:51
That’s terrific. Well, thank you so much for sharing the journey. And thanks everyone for listening. If, as you know, we’re here every Monday and Wednesday talking to incredible founders and CEOs about their journey in building their brand. And hopefully, you’ll get a chance to hear some of the other podcasts on the Kara golden show. If you haven’t listened are ready, definitely download the podcast. It’s on Apple as well as Spotify. And thanks so much for listening everyone. If you also haven’t had a chance to pick up a copy of my book, which I cannot even believe it’s been a year since I launched it. It’s a Wall Street Journal and Amazon Best Seller. And hopefully you’ll get a chance to read it or listen to it on Audible and hear a lot more about some of the challenges that we’ve had in building our brand. But anyway, goodbye for now. Thank you everyone and have a great rest of the week. Before we sign off, I want to talk to you about fear. People like to talk about fearless leaders. But achieving big goals isn’t about fearlessness. Successful leaders recognize their fears and decide to deal with them head on in order to move forward. This is where my new book undaunted comes in. This book is designed for anyone who wants to succeed in the face of fear, overcome doubts and live a little undaunted. Order your copy today at undaunted, the book calm and learn how to look your doubts and doubters in the eye and achieve your dreams. For a limited time. You’ll also receive a free case of hint water. Do you have a question for me or want to nominate an innovator to spotlight? Send me a tweet at Kara golden and let me know. And if you liked what you heard, please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. You can also follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn at Kara golden thanks for listening