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The very first time I saw Tifosi's products in the store, I knew they were absolutely going to kill it. With a retail price that was one third of the premium brands that were popular at the time, but a look and feature set that seemed on par with those premium brands, Tifosi offered something people wanted at a price point they were willing to pay.

And it worked. They've grown like crazy, now owning more than 70% of the cycling specialty market for sunglasses, and they continue to develop top notch designs and features while retailing for about half what the big brands cost. Walk into almost any bike shop or independent running store and you'll likely see a Tifosi display on the counter. So, how did they get there? What were the challenges in going up against Spy, Oakley and other major brands? Today, we'll hear their startup and growth story directly from co-founder Joe Early.

THE TAKEAWAY

One of the biggest takeaways any consumer product brand should remember is Joe's tips on getting a good rep. When I had my beverage company years ago, we had a couple of great distributors with reps that seemed good, but those reps would barely even mention our product when they went into the stores.

Why? Because our sales volume was so low compared to their beer brands that it wasn't even worth their time. Many were just order takers, and that was it. They didn't have to sell. And it killed us. Nurturing your sales force, giving them the tools to do their job, and sometimes even helping to get those first accounts open, can sometimes make all the difference in the world.

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