The Synthesis of Media and Ecommerce with Kevin Espiritu of Epic Gardening
This episode features Kevin Espiritu, founder and CEO of Epic Gardening, who shares his journey from accounting graduate to building one of the largest gardening media platforms. He discusses scaling the business, monetizing content, taking risks with capital, diversifying revenue streams, building an ecosystem of content, leveraging platforms, the power of media and marketing in creator businesses, authenticity and parasocial relationships, exploring unique business models, company growth, and the vision for the future.
Building an audience-content fit leads to product-market fit
By focusing on building an audience and understanding their needs, creators can more easily find product-market fit.
Monetizing content requires thoughtful execution
Creators can monetize their content without sacrificing its ability to convert to actual sales.
Authenticity is key in building parasocial relationships
Creators have a responsibility to use the parasocial relationship with their audience in an authentic and ethical manner.
Diversifying revenue streams reduces business risk
Epic Gardening successfully diversified its revenue streams by introducing products, reducing reliance on one source of income.
Building an ecosystem of content yields unexpected results
Different platforms serve different functions in creating an ecosystem of content, which can lead to unexpected and interesting outcomes.
Scaling a company requires mental challenges and role adjustments
As a company grows, scaling the roles of CEO and creative can be mentally challenging and require adjustments.
Gardening has potential in a high-functioning future society
The benefits of gardening are discussed, along with its potential role in a future society focused on happiness and fulfillment.
- Kevin Espiritu's Journey to Building Epic Gardening
- Scaling Up and Monetizing the Business
- Taking Risks and Scaling with Capital
- Diversifying Revenue Streams and Acquisitions
- Building an Ecosystem of Content and Leveraging Platforms
- The Power of Media and Marketing in Creator Businesses
- Authenticity, Parasocial Relationships, and Future Opportunities
- Exploring Unique Business Models and Company Growth
- The Vision for the Future and Leveraging Technology
Kevin Espiritu's Journey to Building Epic Gardening
00:00 - 06:44
- Kevin Espiritu, founder and CEO of Epic Gardening, started as an accounting graduate and began a gardening blog as a hobby.
- After trying startup ventures and working at Scribe Media, Kevin built Epic Gardening into one of the largest gardening media platforms.
- He reflects on his journey and discusses laddering up as a bootstrap creator, combining media businesses with e-commerce, and recent acquisitions and product lines at Epic Gardening.
Scaling Up and Monetizing the Business
06:18 - 12:11
- Epic Gardening expanded to platforms like YouTube and podcasting, which helped scale up the business.
- In 2019, products were introduced into the business, leading to significant revenue growth.
- The audience became the customer instead of being treated as the product in traditional content models.
- Building an audience-content fit can lead to finding product-market fit more easily.
- Feedback from the audience helps identify popular products or services.
Taking Risks and Scaling with Capital
11:43 - 17:40
- Developing a product introduces higher risk, but taking capital enabled Epic Gardening to tap into a valuable network, make connections with industry experts, make acquisitions, and scale faster.
- The person being interviewed took obvious and high-returning moves without taking large risks or outside capital.
- They were able to bootstrap their business for six to seven years before considering taking capital.
Diversifying Revenue Streams and Acquisitions
17:21 - 23:12
- Epic Gardening generates around two to three million dollars per year from the media side of the business.
- The company introduced products like raised bed products and seed trays, leading to successful revenue growth.
- Epic Gardening plans to continue making smart, small, high-returning acquisitions in specific categories where there is alignment between the audience and the hobby, such as gardening.
Building an Ecosystem of Content and Leveraging Platforms
22:55 - 28:40
- Different platforms serve different functions in creating an ecosystem of content.
- Being present on all platforms allows for serving customers no matter where they are.
- Content compounds in chaotic and interesting ways, producing unexpected results.
- Creators can leverage platforms like TikTok and Twitter for community building and word-of-mouth opportunities.
- Creating evergreen content that pays dividends over time is preferred over short-lived platforms like Clubhouse.
The Power of Media and Marketing in Creator Businesses
28:19 - 34:32
- Monetizing content can be done thoughtfully without destroying its ability to convert to actual sales.
- Building media chops is a harder skill than building product development skills.
- Generating audience attention is more scarce than making products.
- High-quality content gets attention, and those willing to monetize it invest in it.
- The best marketing department is actually media.
Exploring Unique Business Models and Company Growth
39:53 - 45:59
- Al bought two towns and suggests buying a town as a business model.
- Owning a town helps with marketing for online businesses.
- Creating self-sustaining backyard ecosystems can be fulfilling but time-consuming.
- Scaling the roles of CEO and creative has been mentally challenging during company growth.
- The goal is to build a company doing $100 million or more per year.
The Vision for the Future and Leveraging Technology
1:01:55 - 1:08:09
- The host discusses various individuals and companies that they find interesting.
- They talk about the benefits of gardening and its potential role in a high-functioning future society.
- Lawns are criticized as wasteful, and community gardens are briefly mentioned.