Tai Lopez is a highly successful entrepreneur who is perhaps best known for his YouTube advertisements that became somewhat of a viral sensation back in 2014. His series of “Here in My Garage” ads feature Tai emphasizing the importance of self-improvement, and how anyone can better themselves and increase their material wealth through the acquisition of knowledge. Since then, he has amassed a huge following across his social media channels, where he has over 1.3 million subscribers to whom he shares ideas and philosophy in achieving the “good life.”
Tai’s journey perfectly exemplifies the American dream – a true rags to riches story. In several of his keynote speeches and podcast episodes, he talks about how he wound up with only $47 in his bank account. Fast forward to 2021, and he is a successful entrepreneur and investor, as well as a partner, consultant, and advisor to over 20 multimillion-dollar companies.
Millionaire entrepreneur by 37
According to reports of his childhood, Lopez always had an entrepreneurial mindset, even as far back as six years old when he was tasked with selling tomatoes for his mother.
“My mom had these cherry tomatoes she would sell. The problem was, nobody really bought the tomatoes. So, I took it upon myself to sell lemonade with sugar instead. In the time I had sold one bag of tomatoes for 25 cents, I was able to sell ten times more with my lemonade stand,” said Lopez.
Continuing his early success, Tai began to soak up as much knowledge as he could, mainly in the form of books and seeking wisdom from his grandfather. This is one of the reasons why he regularly advocates for books and mentors above a college education, believing that there is no reason for someone not to read and learn every day.
Tai’s grandpa sent him an important delivery when he was still a youngster, “containing an old, dusty set of eleven books,” with a note encouraging Lopez to “start with reading these.” Years later, Lopez continued his self-education by reading over “thousands of books” written by some of history’s most influential figures, including business titans like Sam Walton and Charlie Munger. His reading sparked a desire to travel, partly to meet individuals like those portrayed in his books.
He put money aside from various jobs until he had enough to fund his travels. He eventually packed his possessions for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to 51 countries, where he worked at a leper colony for a while and assisted Joel Salatin on Polyface Farms in pioneering grass-fed, sustainable agriculture.
After coming home from his travels, he sought mentoring from five multi-millionaire entrepreneurs, who all agreed. Shortly afterward, Lopez obtains the designation of Certified Financial Planner. Subsequently, he applied the skills and knowledge he acquired during his travels to becoming the well-known founder, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, consultant, and mentor we know today.
In his 67 Steps Program, Tai breaks down the actions he took to achieve personal success. He teaches his approach for setting oneself free and creating possibilities that might lead to a deeper philosophical understanding of success, and all of the material trappings that come with it.
A look into Tai’s latest project – Retail Ecommerce Ventures (REV)
Since 2019, high-flying entrepreneur, internet marketer, and business magnate Tai Lopez has been working on his latest project, Retail Ecommerce Ventures (REV), where he sets out to purchase the IP rights of struggling, famous retail brands in an attempt to revive them and turn them into eCommerce successes.
Over the past two years, Lopez and his business partner Alex Mehr (a former NASA scientist and co-founder of online dating application Zoosk) have already acquired more than a dozen failing brands, including Pier 1, Radio Shack, Ralph & Russo, Dressbarn, and Stein Mart. In just a short time, Retail Ecommerce Ventures has developed a strong track record for successfully rebuilding troubled retailers as eCommerce brands, and they are showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Why are so many retail brands going bust?
It’s no secret that the last 18 months have been one of the most challenging periods in recent history for businesses. Most brick and mortar establishments were left with no real means of generating revenue as the global pandemic shook up the way consumers and businesses interacted with one another practically overnight.
Customer footfall came to a grinding halt as lockdown measures were implemented, leaving companies of all shapes and sizes in a dire situation. As a consequence, most physical stores experienced declining sales and rising debt, leaving some of the largest retailers with no choice but to file for bankruptcy.
However, if the truth is told, the retail industry has been struggling for quite some time now. Even before the pandemic, sales were dwindling, and consumers were gradually shifting towards digital purchases with each passing year. It seems as though COVID-19 merely acted as a catalyst for the inevitable.
In any case, where one industry fails, another stands to gain, and that’s precisely what happened with eCommerce. According to Forbes, the pandemic accelerated eCommerce growth by a whopping 4 to 6 years, as online stores quickly took advantage of the new demand for digital products and services. All of this saw retail eCommerce sales hit a record high of $4.28 trillion in 2020.
Why are sinking retail brands a good buy?
As far as Lopez and Mehr are concerned, purchasing these retailers is all about one thing, and that is brand recognition. Securing the IP rights to these brands may not be the cheapest route to owning a retail business, but there is a tremendous amount of value in the public perception of these companies. High-profile retail stores that have already established a loyal customer base bring much more credibility, awareness, and trust than any new store would. In many ways, this is an invaluable asset to acquire.
With that said, intellectual property is notoriously difficult to assign a value to. Still, Lopez and Mehr are confident that by restructuring these failed businesses, stripping down their physical assets, and bringing them online, there is a lot of money to be made. As it turns out, they were right.
The revival strategy
For the most part, REV only aims to add brands to its portfolio that have recently gone through financial trouble. Once all of the physical stores have been closed down, most of the overheads and expenses associated with running the business are eliminated, such as rent and leasing fees, utilities, stock, storage, licensing, and insurance.
Once these costs have been negated, the entrepreneurial duo gets to work on turning these failed retail brands into lucrative eCommerce operations. This typically involves an extensive reimagining of the current business model towards a dropshipping strategy, in order to eliminate the hassle and expense of managing physical inventories. For this to function appropriately, REV must first set about redesigning the brand’s website to incorporate various eCommerce functionalities, usually through an existing and recognized platform, such as Shopify Plus.
Moreover, REV currently owns two fulfillment centers and is developing a multichannel, blended sales approach that incorporates social media and the utilization of marketplaces such as Amazon and Walmart to boost sales and revenue. This is a rather unorthodox approach, as most established retailers have shied away marketing their products on these platforms out of fear that it will taint their brands. Yet, so far, Lopez and Mehr have seen incredible results with their unconventional approach.
So, what does the future hold for Tai Lopez and REV?
Despite REV’s objective of restructuring retail stores to become predominantly online businesses, they accept that traditional brick-and-mortar stores will continue to exist, even in a post-COVID-19 world. It’s for this reason that Lopez and Mehr aren’t completely ruling out a return to physical retail in the future, but for the time being, they have stated the importance of focusing on growing their businesses’ digital presence first since eCommerce is the most crucial factor in modern retail success – especially until COVID-19 is fully eliminated.
Surprisingly, many experts believe that a proper balance of multichannel sales, rather than a mass transition towards digital operations, is the best remedy for reviving a faltering retail brand. Consumers, after all, place a premium on convenience, and although online shopping is excellent for price comparison and product discovery, the ability to return or exchange products at a nearby store is an important part of the consumer experience. Nonetheless, it seems reasonable to expect Lopez and Mehr’s Retail Ecommerce Ventures to keep up their current pace with digital makeovers for these shuttered retail stores for the time being, as it is certainly proving fruitful based on recent results.