Join us for a candid conversation with Ryan Lewendon, the lawyer who played a pivotal role in the BodyArmor acquisition. Ryan shares his experiences working with high-profile clients such as Kobe Bryant and Ryan Rapole. He provides an inside look at the legal and strategic considerations that go into his day-to-day business endeavors. Ryan offers valuable lessons for anyone interested in the world of start-up businesses. Listen as he shares his unique perspective and insight.
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Brett Gilliland: Welcome to the Circuit of Success. I’m your host, Brett Gilliland, and today I’ve got Ryan Lewendon with me. Ryan, how you doing?
Ryan Lewendon: Great. I’m doing great, Brett. Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Brett Gilliland: Absolutely, man. You’re coming to us from New York City today, is that correct?
Ryan Lewendon: That is right. I’m in, uh, Manhattan at my, uh, at my apartment, just, uh, Pump to pump to speak.
Brett Gilliland: Awesome. Awesome, man. Well, I know you also have an office in California as well. Uh, Giannuzzi Lewendon Law Firm, uh, is a high growth food, beverage, and personal care industries is who you guys are serving. You guys founded it in 2011. Uh, you represent over a thousand consumer products. And here’s the one that my kids were excited about.
I told you before we started recording. It says, uh, most notably Ryan represented Body Armor in Coca-Cola’s, largest ever brand acquisition with Coca-Cola, purchasing the remainder of Body Armor for 5.6 billion dollars at an enterprise value of 8 billion dollars man, talk about that a little bit, man. Cause that’s, that doesn’t just happen overnight. So that was a long journey, I’m sure, right?
Ryan Lewendon: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you know, my firm Giannuzzi Lewendon, we, we differentiate ourselves in really two ways. One, We’re contextual experts in consumer, right? So we only work with consumer brands. We only work on the brand side, and it’s all sort of everything topical or ingestible.
So that’s food, that’s beverage, that’s spirits, that’s baby, that’s pet, that’s beauty, right? And um, I got into the industry through Vitamin Water. So my partner Nick, and I. We’re the first lawyers for Vitamin Water and we get everything for Vitamin Water from every min, every round of financing, every distribution agreement, manufacturing agreement, every celebrity partnership, 50 cents deal with Vitamin Water.
We had his, uh, own flavor and equity in the brand was one of my first deals at a law school and Jennifer Anniston’s deal, which became, we went with Smartwater. That became one of the longest running CPG partnerships of all time. I think it went over 15 years after the sale to Coke, we did everything, uh, through the sale of Coke for 4.8 billion in 2007.
Um, and from there we realized we had this great perspective on how to grow and scale a C P G business from the ground up. Right? Mo most lawyers kind of have this top down perspective on their clients. Like they know what the legal aspects are, but they don’t really know how or why the business is built or why it grows, or why the people in the industry are important or how they interlock.
And because of our experience of Vitamin Water, we realized we had this great viewpoint on it and we realized that these, these entrepreneurs who were growing these fast businesses, um, it was very valuable to them. So, uh, you know, Nick and I sort of, Put a little end cap on the career. Um, you know, last year with, uh, the Body Armor deal.
Um, that’s a company that I had worked with since, uh, 2011 when we started the firm. Um, you know, we left a bigger firm we were at and, and started this firm and, um, you know, it was, it was a great experience just from, you know, everything from, you know, the Kobe deal to the keurig Dr. Pepper deal to the Coke deal and, um, yeah, it, it, it was a, you know, it was a overnight success that, you know, happened over 10 years.
Right. It, it was right. He was, you know, Mike Repole and, and the team. Um, and you know, Mike was also the, one of the co-founders of Vitamin Water, so we knew each other really well. And, um, just a, a great prolific entrepreneur who, you know, uh, one of his sayings is, success is best when shared. Right. And, um, you know, he’s someone that I would say kind of.
Proliferated the, the, the, the tech concept and CPG of sort of like paying everyone in options and making sure everyone was sort of, you know, uh, an equity owner in the business. And, um, you know, we carried that over from Vitamin Water to Body Armor. And when that company sold, you know, like it made a couple billionaires, maybe like, I think maybe 10 or 2000 millionaires, but it made.
Over 800 millionaires on that cap table.
Brett Gilliland: Wow.
Ryan Lewendon: And those were all, and those were all employees, right? They were all employees and former employees and service providers. And there was almost no private equity in that business. Whatsoever. It was all basically individuals on that cap table. Um, and so, you know, you just see the redistribution of wealth from that one deal was, uh, so immense and, and changed a lot of people’s lives.
Brett Gilliland: Um, oh, for sure.
Ryan Lewendon: But really starts with, you know, someone who’s a phenomenal entrepreneur, who’s, you know, not willing, um, to, uh, you know, Keep it all to themselves or someone who wants to focus on sort of building a team and making sure that team’s incentivized and making sure that team is, um, you know, highly motivated.
Right. And you know, by the way, I was a recipient of that generosity. Um, so, you know, I certainly really appreciate it and
Brett Gilliland: You’re like, we can’t afford your law bills, but we can give you some stock in the company. Right.
Ryan Lewendon: E Exactly, exactly. And um, um, just gimme one sec. Uh, yeah. And it was just, it was phenomenal.
Brett Gilliland: That’s crazy. So, let’s talk a little bit about, if we can, before we, I wanna keep diving into some of that stuff and the learnings and all that, but tell us a little bit about your background. So like, you don’t, again, I always say you don’t just wake up and start doing this and representing 50 cent and Kobe Bryant and Generat Innocent, all these brands, all this stuff.
Not representing them per se, but working with them. Um, what, what was your, your backstory there. What, what got you started?
Ryan Lewendon: Yeah. So, you know, I, um, I went to college in New Orleans at Tulane University and uh…
Brett Gilliland: I was, sorry to interrupt, but I was gonna say we have that in common, the green wave.
Ryan Lewendon: Oh, I love that.
Brett Gilliland: I didn’t go to Tulane, but my high school was, uh, Mattoon. GreenWave, which I think it’s the wind blowing through the corn. It’s very scary, very scary when you’re playing us.
Ryan Lewendon: I love that. Green Wave. All right.
Brett Gilliland: That’s right.
Ryan Lewendon: Um, so I went to college down there. Uh, you know, I, I, I kind of studied molecular and cellular biology.
I, I, I first wanted to be a surgeon. I realized that, um, You know, pretty early on that I don’t like dissecting people, so that was gonna be a somewhat of an impediment to continuing that.
Brett Gilliland: Right.
Ryan Lewendon: Um, uh, and then, you know, it’s sort of like I worked at a research lab in genetics and over a summer and I realized I wanted to do something a bit more, um, people facing.
Right. Um, I wanted something where I interact with people a bit more. So, you know, around my, uh, senior year, I’d been working at a bar and I ended up running it. My senior year and a year after college and I was kind of trying to figure out, you know, what do you want to do? Um, and um, you know, while I was running the bar, I started to see how people’s sort of tastes were fragmenting, like, you know, um, people were coming in, they were like kind of.
Wanting more Artisinal products. They wanted like an Abida amber instead of a Miller Light. And they were like asking for sort of like those smaller, more craft manufactured products. And you know, then there were kind of entrepreneurs were coming in and pitching their sort of craft spirits and stuff to me.
And you know, then I would, um, Then I would have people, like people would be asking for it at the bar. And I, I, it kind of stuck with me how people’s tastes were changing in terms of what they were consuming. And they wanted sort of, you know, things that meant a little bit more to them. They wanted something that wasn’t really put out by, you know, a big conglomerate.
And, um, I ended up going to law school. Um, you know, I wanted to maybe work in, um, You know, in the medical field somehow. And, um, you know, when I got outta law school on the corporate side, I, I basically got this job working, um, uh, for my, my now partner Nick, and you know, the Vitamin Water when like that was an early client that kind of stuck with me.
I realized, oh yeah, this is something. You know, I’ve, I’ve seen a little bit, and this is something where people’s tastes are changing. So, you know, I lobbied to get myself on the account and, um, you know, working, working on the Vitamin Water stuff was basically my education. How to sort of scale and, and grow a cPG business. And um, you know, luckily after that sold, uh, Nick and I went to our, uh, our first trade show together. It was in Boston in 2008. It was Expo East, you know, and we kind of like, you know, had an idea like, Hey, maybe there’s more people who need this type of, you know, um, representation right need.
Brett Gilliland: Right.
Ryan Lewendon: Like a brand first representation or a founder first representation. And we walked that show and we were like, Hey, we’re lawyers. Does anyone need a lawyer? And uh, people were like, well, I’m not getting sued right now. And we’d be like, no, no, no. That’s not what we do. We help you like structure the company.
We help you build your infrastructure. We help you do your rounds of financing. We help make sure your voice remains relevant in the boardroom as you add in all these different layers of, you know, uh, people and partners that have, you know, different sort of, um, uh, experiences and levels of success and make sure that you remain sort of that driving force in the company and people are like, oh yeah, wow.
I need you, you know, I had like six employees. And now I have 68 employees and my lawyer’s like my uncle’s friend and they don’t know what a billback is and they don’t know what a distributor does. And I just need someone with a contextual basis in my industry. Right? And we left that show with like Vida Coco and Happy Baby Organic Baby Food and Hint Water and Pirate’s Booty and Pretzel Crisp, um, and Ziggy’s Yogurt.
All his new clients, and they’re all companies that were like, Doing a couple million dollars in revenue at the time. And, um, they’re all companies that we subsequently help, you know, scale and sell for hundreds of millions of dollars each. Or, or in the case of like Vida Cook, we helped ’em go public two years ago for like a billion dollars.
Right. And, and that sort of stretch I’d say was really our, our sort of, Education on how to scale and grow those CPG brands. And um, you know, from 2008 to 2011, we were working on that and it was 2011, Nick and I, you know, decided to leave the firm we were at and, and start this firm. You know, we moved down to like a little space in the meat packing with, you know, one of their lawyer, uh, his name’s Anthony Iuzzolilno, he’s one of our partners now.
And, um, you know, we sat in an office, the three of us, for a couple weeks until. You know, we were tired of answering the phone ourselves and, you know, then we Right. I put it out on Craigslist and found a, a really, a really amazing office manager who, um, Really helped us out for those first years and, and helped us sort of get the office together.
And we just built it from there, kind of like by, from scratch and, and by word of mouth and by, you know, executing for our clients. And, um, you know, we hired lawyers straight outta law school and trained them sort of in the, sort of like the way that we worked and, um, taught ’em about the industry and. Um, taught ’em how to sort of also be contextual experts and, and consumer and yeah, we built it, you know, we built it brick by brick from there.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah, it’s amazing. I, I love that. And it’s reminds me a lot of our story too, of, of just leaving a big firm and starting your own deal and believing in yourself and, and really betting on yourself. Right. Cuz it’s scary and you think it’s gonna go right? And you’ve built the relationships, but you don’t really know, man.
It’s just betting on yourself. So talk to us about those early days of your firm and then maybe even like the early days of this, even Pirate’s Booty, that stuff’s all over my house with the kids and, and, and Body Armor and all these companies. How are they doing that? Because like right now I want to go out and hire 10 more people, right?
But there’s, there’s constraints to that stuff. So how do you do that? How do you find that when it’s a really all hands on deck when you’re building something early on?
Ryan Lewendon: Yeah. Well, I will say, look, I, I’d say, you know, the toughest year of the business was definitely the first year. Yeah. I, I don’t think I ever worked harder in my life, you know, just because you’re, you’re managing the work that’s coming in, but you’re also sort of like, you know, trying to pick out the chairs and what paint color do we want, and like, you’re setting all this stuff up and you don’t have the other hands to do it, you know?
And so you’re, you’re, you’re doing all that and you’re also managing. Um, you know, getting the work done for the clients and, you know, the clients are a bit more demanding. They know, they know you’re a, a new firm. They know that.
Brett Gilliland: Right?
Ryan Lewendon: You need the business. And so they’re a bit more demanding of your, of your time.
And, um, the toughest part about that was not knowing if it was gonna work. You know, like the first year, you’re, you, you’re working as hard as you can. You’re trying as hard as you can and, and there’s no guarantee that. It’s gonna work out. Right, right. Or that you know, or that your thesis is, is gonna be correct.
Um, and you know, like I’d say those couple years were, were especially the first year, you know, in terms of the hours I put in and the emotional sort of energy I put in, it was, it was, it was definitely the sort of toughest part. Um, you know, obviously when you start to see the sort of fruits of success, it’s a bun, it’s a lot easier to sort of keep putting in. Right.
Brett Gilliland: Right.
Ryan Lewendon: But it’s, it’s. It’s that first period where you’re not seeing the return on investment, uh, yet that, um, you know, c carrying forward is, is probably the hardest, but it’s also probably the most important, right? Like that’s what, you know, the ability to sort of, sort of get. You know, kind of escape gravity and start to take off.
It’s, it’s the hardest part. Going from zero to, you know, a million or, or 3 million or 4 million in sales or revenues is, is oftentimes kind of across the board. The hardest, the hardest to do. Um, but, and it takes a certain amount of faith and conviction and just will to sort of push it forward in those earlier times.
Um, and you know, I’d say that like, We worked until, you know, everybody was working until 11 or 12 at night. And then, you know, when you realized you were doing that for like a month, then you’d hire another person. Right. But the first couple hires we hired purely out of like critical mass. Right. And it was like, hey, you know, cuz, cuz especially in the earlier times, you don’t wanna hire somebody.
And, you know, not have enough work for ’em or, or think, hey, this is a little blip and it’s gonna go away. But, you know, we, we would work. And, um, you know, when we realized that we were sort of at a, at a space where, you know, the work was steady and we were, and we were working too hard, we, we put another person in and then, You know, then we made it work.
We made, we made sure to keep it, you know, busy enough. Um, and, uh, you know, being efficient in those, in those couple days, in those first couple years and the first couple hires is, um, is so critical to businesses. Right. And, and I think that, you know, a lot of people think, Hey, you’re gonna start a business and, and it’s gonna be, you know, it’s gonna be fun, which it is.
Brett Gilliland: Right.
Ryan Lewendon: But, you know, Nobody really prepares you for, especially if you’re coming from like a bigger place where you have a lot of infrastructure.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah.
Ryan Lewendon: Nobody really prepares you for sort of doing everything, right, like answering the phone and you know, being the one to take out the garbage and, you know, being the one to grab the coffees in addition to sort of making the deals and all that type of stuff.
But, you know, and I see that like what’s outside of my own experience with the firm, like, you know, I’ve, I’ve seen the, um, You know, the Pirates booties of the world and the Vidi Cocos of the world and you know, the Mary Ruth’s Organics of the world, you know, when they’re earlier on. And you know, I’ve had those relationships with those founders where, hey look, you know, you’re going through the bumps early and you know, you have the moments of, you know, you have those moments where you’re like, is this worth it?
Is this gonna work out? And, um, you know, not necessarily seeing the on their side, but not necessarily seeing the light at the end of the tunnel yet. And then I’ve seen them, you know, Go past that and grow past that and, and, um, you know, create that goodwill and create that, you know, cr bring in the people, get the people to buy in, bring in the first couple hires, and create that bandwidth in the business.
Um, you know, it’s, it’s really a, it’s really an amazing, beautiful thing, um, to see, you know, a founder and entrepreneur do those. It’s, it’s, it’s quite literally sort of creating the magic, you know, it’s creating, it’s creating something, you know, without throwing the money in on top of it and throwing, you know, throwing this sort of like, you know, the, the big infrastructure, the big sales pieces.
It’s, you know, getting people to buy in and it’s, you know, getting the people to take a chance on you. You know, there’s nobody that’s been, I’ve seen be successful that didn’t have some period where someone took a chance on them, right? Like, whether it was a, a manufacturer who was like, I like your product and I’m gonna, you know, gonna take you on with, you know, low minimum order quantities.
Or whether it was a retailer that’s like, Hey, you know what? We’re gonna stock this. You know? Hey, we’re, we’re Whole Foods regional. I like you. Yeah. We’re gonna put, we’re gonna put you in. You know, or whether it was, you know, a, um, an entrepreneur who, you know, met up with a, with a, with a celebrity who really liked the concept and said, Hey, we’re gonna launch this together and leverage their network to really bring it out to a wider audience.
Um, there’s, there’s always some function of luck in success.
Brett Gilliland: Right, right.
Ryan Lewendon: Um, you know, and, and you know, obviously the adage that you create your own luck. It is very true. Right. And it’s, and it’s the people that are constantly working. You know, to make that, make that hopeful situation where, where the luck occurs, occurs, um, those are usually the people you see, see, get there.
But there’s always like a, there’s always some turning point where someone just takes that leap and, and it’s the entrepreneur who gets ’em to do that.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah. Well, I think it’s their passion, right? And so, I mean, I, I, one of the questions I wrote down is, How, how have you aligned your passions with your work? Right. Because again, if you’re body armor and you’re gonna go talk to Kobe Bryant, I mean, Kobe Bryant’s not just gonna listen to anybody, and you gotta have some passion. You better have your dang story lined out and, and you better, better, uh, better have some great presentation skills. Right. So talk about those times with Kobe and then also talk about for your own time with how have you aligned your passions with your work?
Ryan Lewendon: Yeah. I mean, you know, look, He partnered up with Body Armor, you know, in, in, in part for, for a number of reasons, right? One, he had a pa, he had a passion about, you know, a better product, right? And he also had a part, and he also had a passion about, you know, this is kind of like towards the later half of his career.
He had a passion about becoming, you know, a businessman and, and yeah. And succeeding in the business world as much as he had in the, in the sports world. Right. And, um, you know, he found a great mentor in Mike Rapole there. And, you know, I, I would say that if it wasn’t for Mike and the relationship Mike had with Kobe, uh, Kobe probably would’ve done something else, right?
Or he might not have partnered up. I mean, Kobe didn’t just. Kobe wasn’t an endorser of body armorer, he was an investor. You know, he, he invested 7 million dollars in the company, um, you know, for about a 15% stake. But, you know, he made more money on that investment than he did in his entire N B A career.
Brett Gilliland: Isn’t that the one where I read, sorry to interrupt, but I read when it happened. I mean, this was after he had passed obviously, that he made, didn’t he make like 700 million or something crazy like that? Off the, off the, the deal.
Ryan Lewendon: That’s right. That’s right. And you know, and it’s, and it’s, you know, and, and that’s something, look, Mike told him you’ll make more money on this than you, than you have at, you know, playing basketball those years and, and eventually when the company sold and, and look, it was, it was it. Kobe recognized Mike’s passion and his drive for, you know, disrupting the sports industry. He rec, he saw Mike’s vision, which was, which was an absolute, you know, He, Mike gave me one of the best presentations ever when he was really getting ramping up BodyArmor and he laid out, you know, exactly where the company would go and what he thought it would do the next couple years, and he laid out, you know, what the line extensions would look like, and he laid out.
You know how he was gonna take shelf space from Powerade first, and then he was gonna take it from Gatorade, and why it would be easy to take Powerades shelf space now. And, um, you know, it, it’s not that everything happened exactly how he laid it out, but it was pretty darn close. And, you know, I will say that I say it on corner all the time now, especially in this climate.
Right. With this type of economy, you need to have a great North star and you need to have a great vision. And the earlier that you can sort of put that together, the better because you know, I mean, Mike had a, a preeminent vision for BodyArmor. And that’s what allowed him to bring Kobe in. Cuz Kobe, I mean, Kobe saw the same presentation and Kobe told me a very similar thing.
He’s like, I mean, it didn’t happen exactly how he said it, how Mike said it, but it happened pretty darn close. He had a, he had an absolute vision for the product and you know, the times where you could go, like in the mid 2010s where you could put a slap of business plan together. And just go out and raise money on that.
That doesn’t exist anymore. Right. People need, or especially earlier stage, like the hardest time to raise money is this zero to 5 million in revenues, period. Where people are now. Yeah. Yeah. And like if you don’t have a great vision for the product, if you don’t have an idea about where you want it to go, If you don’t have like a villain that you’re like, you know, matching up against or trying to take down, you know, people aren’t gonna sign up like for your company at this stage.
Like people are much more risk averse. So, you know, you gotta have that passion and you gotta have that sort of vision for a business these days, especially if you’re sort of in that, in that startup world. Um, more so than you needed to. Sort of 10 years ago or so. Right. Um, but you know, in terms of my passions, I mean, look, I, I love health and wellness.
I mean, um, I, I, I ran track. Um, I love the products that I work with. I love entrepreneurship and, you know, if I didn’t love those things and I didn’t love the tactile nature of what I do and the fact that like, Did that you can help someone start a product that you believe in that’s better for, you know, people and to put that into the world and then to see it on, on shelves, right?
Yeah. But I didn’t have, I wouldn’t be able, I wouldn’t have been able to put the hours in than I need to put in to grow my business the way I need to grow it. You know? And, and, and I would say to anyone who’s looking at doing anything similar, Today that, you know, you have to align your passions with your projects.
You know, you have to align your passion with your work because, you know, it, it, it’s in, in an economy like this and you know, that’s uncertain and going in a recession and where people are sort of more fickle with the risks that they’re taking, you know, they’re, people are gonna be betting on. And people are gonna be working on with the passionate people, right?
The people who, you know, are doing this for more than just a paycheck, right? They’re doing it for, you know, something else, right? They’re doing it for the personal reward. Um, it, it’s just, you know, I, I, I don’t think in today’s, today’s world where, you know, you’re start looking to start a business and it’s, and it’s clear that you’re only looking to do it, to be able to sell it in a couple years or whatnot.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah.
Ryan Lewendon: You’re not gonna get the support behind you that you would be able to get in better times. Right?
Brett Gilliland: Yeah.
Ryan Lewendon: You gotta be, you gotta be doing it for more than that.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah. People wanna be around a brand, don’t they? I mean, they wanna be around something that they can, you know, have some legacy with, I think.
Ryan Lewendon: Yeah. Yeah. And, and look, I think. You know, more than that, I think people are looking at brands and platforms as like, you know, they’re looking to get more out of that. They’re looking for them to stand for something. They’re looking for them to educate them on something to be a little bit more than just, a product, right? Like Yeah. You know, you look at, you look at brands, like you look at a Goop or you look at, uh, like An Honest Company or, you know, you look at, uh, am Amir Roots Organics, um, even like a Vital Proteins and you know, they, they, they stand for more than just the product, right? They’re like a longevity or their health and wellness.
And you look at like how they’re getting the consumers and it’s because they’re putting out content and they’re educating people on, you know, how to be healthier or how to eat healthier.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah.
Ryan Lewendon: Or, or they’re educating people on, Hey, look, the stuff that a lot of people are consuming their, their negative things about that.
Um, and so like I do think today’s world. People are looking more for like platform type brands that can sort of mean a lot more for them, right? Um, just the way that we’re now consuming information. I think they’re looking like people don’t want mass market and info and they look at some of these like really passionate, more artisanal, unique brands as as good educators, um, as a, uh, in addition to, you know, product offerings.
Brett Gilliland: Right. So let’s talk about you, you mentioned this kind of briefly, you didn’t say these words, but I hear daily habits. So, um, if, if I followed you around every day and, and I see the things that you do, whether it’s personal, professional, whateverit is. What are those habits that are locked in for you that are happening every single day?
Ryan Lewendon: Yeah, that’s a great question. Um, you know, my morning routine, um, you know, I I, I get up, I, you know, I stretch. I, you know, I have a, like a, a protein rich breakfast, and then, you know, I either work out in the morning or work out at night, but like, you know, there’s a, there’s a workout three to four times a week.
Yeah. Um, you know, it’s, it’s. The habits of, especially at night, and then on the other end at night, it’s, you know, taking time and putting down the phone at some point. Um, and like taking a time to disconnect from, you know, the constant communication, right. Um, in a and to get an, and to get a night’s sleep, right?
Like my habits on sleep, you know, are, have improved, you know. Like since my twenties exponentially, right? Yeah. Getting a good night’s sleep and getting a, a, a night of sleep that, like, you know, getting six, six to eight hours basically, uh, of good sleep is like preeminent in terms of functioning. Um, And, and then look in terms of like work, um, it’s, it’s organization.
Um, it’s simply organization. Um, you know, I, I sort of, I, look, I’ve got a practice that’s very high volume. You know, we’ve got over, you know, 1500 companies that we work with in the consumer space and, you know, and of various sizes, right? Of companies are doing a billion dollars in revenue to hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, and all the way down to someone who’s like kind of just starting a business and start, you know, have an idea in their head and, you know, they, they both require, you know, similar but different levels of attention and, and detail and time. Um, you know, and organizing my calendar and organizing my space and like being and sticking to that and organizing my time, um, you know, and, you know, being intentional with my time, right? Like, there are, there are endless opportunities to spend your time and the, and, you know, and, and allowing, you know, people well-intentioned or not to like encroach into that or to take over your time or to take more of your time than you can give at the, at the moment.
Um, prohibits being efficient, right? Yeah. And, and my, my whole business is, is predicated on being very efficient. So being very organized and intentional at that time, uh, is something that, you know, and work I do sort of day in and day out. Yeah. And then lost is making time and making space for sort of like your loved ones and my girlfriend and my family and, um, you know, making sure that I’m carving out time every day to spend with her and with them and to speak with them and, you know, um, on a regular, regular basis. And just to kind of stay grounded with those people that you love and are important. Um, and to not let sort of like the, you know, the, the daily busyness, um, take that away.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah. Which is hard to do, especially like you said with these phones, man, you gotta put ’em down at night every single night.
And I’m a big believer, shameless plug here, but I’ve got a journal, I’ve just put it on Amazon. Uh, this has been, you know, 22 years in the making and it’s everything I do in one spot and it’s, it’s like been a game changer for me as I’ve been testing over the last year and a half. And now to finally have it go live, but what is it for you that you use that is like, if I see you around again, I could probably grab it.
Like, for me it’s these black journals I have everywhere that I’m writing stuff down. What is it for you that I would, uh, if I steal it from you, man, you’re not gonna be happy.
Ryan Lewendon: It’s my right there. So, yeah, look, I mean, everything is organized in my Outlook calendar and then in my Notes app. Yeah. Um, on that phone.
You know, I, I, I, uh, I’ve got two phones, you know, that’s like my work phone, that’s my work calendar. Um, yeah. And, uh, you know, everything’s in the calendar. Everything my whole day’s in there. Um, You know, and my whole life is in there. Um, and, uh, you know, anything I gotta follow up on is in my notes app. Um, so it’s all digital, but it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s similar.
It seems like a similar sort of, uh, vein. As with the journal, um, and you know, if I don’t have that phone on me, I, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t commit to planning anything.
Brett Gilliland: Start to freak out.
Ryan Lewendon: Cause I don’t, well, I’m just like, Hey, I gotta, I don’t have my work phone on me, so I don’t know what, what dates I’m free.
It’s just all in there. Um, but…
Brett Gilliland: So let me ask you that. Do you do that? Do you leave the work phone at home? If you’re gonna go out maybe socially on the weekends or something like that, and then, and then only take your personal phone.
Ryan Lewendon: It depends. It depends, but, but it’s, it’s a good way of disconnecting when I want or need to do that.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah.
Ryan Lewendon: Um, you know, it is, it depends on, look, it depends on the time. It depends on whether I feel I need to disconnect. It depends on the deals I’m working on, you know?
Brett Gilliland: Yeah.
Ryan Lewendon: Something. Right at the moment, are we, are we close to the cusp of it? Can I afford to not, you know, be reachable for in a couple hours?
But you know, the good thing about having the two phones is you can leave that one. And you can discount from that. Um, and you can go, you know, take a walk with Jessica and like, you know, just. Just have that space in your life. Yeah. Um, so, you know, it’s a little bit more laborious, carrying around two phones, but, um, you know, it does.
Brett Gilliland: Price you pay, right.
Ryan Lewendon: It does provide for that. Yeah.
Brett Gilliland: So this, uh, sticker here means future greater than your past. That’s it’s our firm’s mission. It’s our, my personal mission as well is achieving a future greater than your past. Again, I always say this doesn’t mean you had a terrible past, but when you hear that, what comes to mind for you, for your firm, for your clients, a future greater than your past?
Ryan Lewendon: Future greater than your past. Yeah. I love that. Um, yeah, I mean, look, that, that’s, that’s what I work for every day, you know, it’s continual improvement and it’s, you know, I, I would say that I live by something similar. Um, you know, it, I think that, to me that means consistency, right? The, to me, the way to build a future that’s greater than your past. Is to be consistent, right? And whether that’s, you know, being consistent with your workouts, even when you’re tight on time, whether it means being consistent about showing up, right? Like, you know, I’d say so much about my business in terms of the business development is just showing up, like show up to the trade show, you know, show up to Expo West every year, you know, no matter what’s going on, show up, spend the time, invest it with the community, right? Um, you know, show up to, you know, the, the, the gathering in New York on Wednesday night. Um, you know, even though. You know, you’d rather have a night in right?
Or you, or you feel like you’re having a night in, just show up. Um, and be consistent about that. Right? Like, and, um, you know, it, it’s, I would say consistency for me is how you keep building, right? And how you build something great. Um, and I would say that, um, um, in terms of like, uh, my clients, that seems to be the same thing, right?
Like, Building a seat a consumer products brand is about being consistent. Putting yourself out there, maintaining, getting through the sort of the, the, the hard times, right? Just continuing to show up, continuing to put your product there, having a great vision for where you’re going, but putting in that day-to-day work and building that sort of business brick by brick.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah, that’s great. What, um, how do you keep it going? Man, there’s, there’s plenty of people out there and, you know, the, the business I’m in, I’ve, I’ve seen people that have, you know, enough money, they could be done tomorrow, right? They can turn the keys in and be done, uh, but they choose not to. Uh, so I’m always, I, I’m always fascinated by this, you know, it’s pur purpose and passion, right? Uh, but for you, what is it? Why do you keep it going and what’s the story behind that?
Ryan Lewendon: Yeah, I mean, uh, it’s, it’s for a lot of reasons. One, you know, uh, I love what I do. I love the industry. I love being part of it. Um, I would say like, my life for better or for worse is like, so inextricably linked to this community of, of, of consumer products.
Like, you know, a lot of my best friends are in the community. They’re my clients, they’re companies, they’re service providers. Um, you know, I, I am. I’m, so I interact face with it. Like, you know, when I’m not working and when I am working.
Brett Gilliland: Even for fun.
Ryan Lewendon: Even for fun, right. Yeah. And, um, you know, like that, I, I’m good with that because I love it and I love the, like the people in the community I love, and it’s just, I, it’s just a warm, embracing place.
So one, you know, finding a place where your passions intersect with your, with your projects and your work. I is it, um, but look, my value systems are, you know, I, it’s not just my personal situation, but it’s also the commitment I’ve made to the people I’ve hired in the firm. And it’s about creating something that’s, you know, lasting for them and it’s creating a, uh, an opportunity for them to move up in the firm and become partners and become equity partners and have an opportunity to participate, you know, even in a greater sense with, with that wealth and, you know, creating a, a legacy that, you know, uh, maintains itself in consumer goods and. And, and the help that we’ve been able to put there.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah.
Ryan Lewendon: So, um, you know, and, and it’s fun man. It’s, it’s fun like, you know, the, the work I do like working with these entrepreneurs and. You know, helping them strategize and, and sort of, you know, beat the odds and change the industry and change the game. I mean, it’s always evolving, right?
Like the next disruptive product is, is coming at the, trying to change the industry in another way. So, you know, it’s not repetitive, it’s always changing. It’s always, it’s always challenging. Um, and, um, you know, it’s just, it’s just fun.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah. And, and you say that it’s one of the six, I have six Fs I talk about all the time is your faith, your family, your fitness, your fun right, your firm and your finances and, and I think, man, if I can’t have fun walking around here every day, you know, doing what I do and having fun with my clients, why in the hell are you doing it? Right? Change it up, man. So those people that are listening, if you’re not having fun, figure out how to have fun.
And, uh, you can do that and, and work all at the same time.
Ryan Lewendon: Yeah. And, and look, I’d say like part of that, um, is like aligned with being who you are, right? Being your authentic self. Like if you can be the person you are when you’re off work the same as you’re on work and like you can sort of express yourself and you’re not sort of like, you’re not putting on a front and you’re not putting on a mask and you’re not, you’re not changing your, your personality or proclivities for what you’re doing in the business world.
Um, it’s much more effortless. Right. And I, and I’d say in today’s world where like everyone’s a bit more educated on each other, and everyone’s a content consumer. Like people wanna know who the person they’re working with is. Right?
Brett Gilliland: Yeah.
Ryan Lewendon: They want to know more than what they’ve done. They wanna know who they are, they wanna know what they’re into. They wanna know what their value system is, right?
Brett Gilliland: That’s right.
Ryan Lewendon: And and more often than not, they want someone who’s living what they’re working with, right? They want someone who’s actually consumer of the products that they represent.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah.
Ryan Lewendon: Or actually as a belief system that aligns with the products they’re working with or, or things they’re working with.
Um, so, and, and I feel I’ve been able to do that in my job. You know, I feel like that this industry and just who I am, um, and what I do in my work is, has been able to align pretty effortlessly. So, um, if you can find a way to do that, I think like the rest of the things that, you know, always work for every single person. Um, is a lot easier to achieve.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah. I mean, and again, this isn’t, and you’ve said it without saying it, but the, the clarity and the vision and the passion, I think are the three things. I mean, you’re working with these brands that are literally changing the world and their industry, but clarity of their vision and their passion is what works. And that’s what we gotta do every day. Every single day.
Ryan Lewendon: Totally agree
Brett Gilliland: So, this is a fun one. I’ve been doing the last few guests. Uh, I’m gonna have you pick a number between one and 10. I’m on your Instagram, so, uh, We’re gonna, so one through 10, pick a number.
Ryan Lewendon: Uh, seven.
Brett Gilliland: All right. And then one through three. Pick a number.
Ryan Lewendon: Uh, two.
Brett Gilliland: All right. So two. This was a post. It says Early morning, run through the center of the universe. It’s got a picture looks like of you and downtown New York, maybe down there. So, so let’s talk about that, man. Randomly just picking pictures on somebody’s Instagram page. Talk to me about that. Why did that post hit you? Why did you share it with the world?
Ryan Lewendon: Oh man. I think at the time, you know, I love, uh, first of all, I love New York City. I’ve lived here since 2004. Um, you know, and, and I live downtown and, um, I’m in soho and our offices in the meat packing. And, um, and you know, like many people live downtown.
I’m sort of in my little microcosm down there.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah.
Ryan Lewendon: But, um, but I was, uh, I was up in Times Square and like, you know, Sometimes even as a New Yorker since 2004, you, you stop for a moment and you look and you see like the awe of New York and how inspiring it is. And even like Times Square is this, is this, there’s some beauty to it and it’s size and it’s scale and the people, and I remember running through there and I, I think I stopped at a stoplight and that, and I, I just, Saw that and I saw the people and the, and, and you know, the sun was kind of setting and I was just, I just fell in love with New York again, you know, and, and, and every New Yorker has those moments where you’ve been in New York and your head’s down and, and you’re working and you’re moving fast.
Every once in a while you pick your head up and you, and you, and you look around you and you feel why you love New York City. And, and that’s what. That’s what did it right there. And, and, um, yeah, that was a good moment.
Brett Gilliland: I love that man. And you could see your passion. I mean, you, you lit up, man. You’re, you’re smiling, you’re, you’re fired up about it.
And then that’s, uh, that’s cool. I’m, I’m glad I asked that. So let me, let me ask you another question, and this is, um, I’m always curious about this. I’ve never asked this, so I’m gonna ask him, be very vulnerable about it, but. We, you, we don’t know each other, right? We don’t have a relationship. Uh, I randomly reach out to you.
I, I can’t even remember if it’s through Instagram or LinkedIn, but we got connected. Um, I see your story. It’s amazing. You’ve got 1500 companies you said you represent. Why in the hell are you spending time with me and our listeners and giving of your time and doing that and sharing your story?
Ryan Lewendon: Yeah, that, that’s a great question.
Well, well first I think what you’re doing on the podcast is great. When I reached out, I saw it. I thought it was really cool. But it’s kind of what I alluded to before. It’s, it’s just about showing up, you know? I mean, yeah. Um, like you said, we don’t know each other. We hadn’t really met before. You’re someone I don’t have a relationship with yet.
Um, and. You know, and you, and you probably have a viewer base that I, that I haven’t met yet, and it’s just continuing to expose yourself and connect with new people, right? Like, you know, I worked in this consumer good space, which is a relatively small industry, and, um, it’s very easy if you don’t continue to step outside yourself and outside your current circles.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah.
Ryan Lewendon: You find yourself in like echo chambers. So I’m always trying, I’m always trying to step outside that and to meet new people and to meet new groups, um, and to continuously, you know, not be in situations where you’re imminently comfortable because you’re, you’re, you’re known and you know everyone.
Right? I love being in, I love being in rooms where I don’t know everyone or I don’t know anyone. Right. And I love, you know, the opportunity to learn more about people and to learn more about new groups and new experiences, new instances. And I think that’s the way you grow, right? I think if you don’t do that, you start to sort of stagnate.
Or you start to be around the same people with all the same ideas. Um, you, you, you really run the risk of missing something good.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah. That’s in line with what I, so I’m 45, but when I turned 40, I wrote down my 40 things I’d learned in business and one of ’em was, take the lunch. Right? Just take the lunch.
You never know. I mean, how many times have you been called? I get this next idea. Right? And they wanna take this big shot guy, he’s helped all these people and, but you never know, man. You take the lunch. And sometimes nothing happens, right? Sometimes you take the lunch and you sell a deal for $8 billion, right?
Whatever. Uh, but you gotta take the lunch and you gotta show up as what you said. So I love it. Where do our listeners find more of, uh, of you, Ryan? Where do, where do we send people?
Ryan Lewendon: Yeah, well, well, you’re just on my Instagram, my Instagram’s, uh, just Ryan Lewendon, r y a n l e w e n d o n. Uh, our firm’s website is, uh, www.gllaw.us and my email is Ryan, r y a n at gl law.us ([email protected]). Feel free to, uh, email me or hit me up on LinkedIn. Um,
Brett Gilliland: Awesome.
Ryan Lewendon: I need the both, but you know, always happy to sort of speak to new people and uh, and get connected.
Brett Gilliland: Awesome man. Well, thanks Ryan for being with us. What a ton of takeaways from me, man. I got a couple pages of notes here, so I appreciate your time and joining me on the Circuit of Success.
Ryan Lewendon: Thanks so much. I had a great time. Appreciate it.