111 - Terence Reilly, Stanley
Terence Reilly: My old boss used to say, " Scared money don't make money." And there's some truth to that and people, brands, every life is based on some risk and you don't want to be careless. And the response to the car video wasn't careless, it was care actually, and it just turned into something that had I known it would have a hundred million views, my post on LinkedIn has 1 million impressions. Had I know this would've happened, I probably would not have had the courage to have done it because every word that I said was analyzed. It's a real interesting thing. You learned a lot from it and I'm grateful that it happened. Most importantly for Danielle and the effect that it's had on the brand has been phenomenal over the last few weeks.
Speaker 2: Explore the minds and marketing strategies behind today's winning brands and businesses. Tap into the power of the creator economy with Earned by CreatorIQ. Here's Connor Begley.
Connor Begley: Hi everyone. Welcome to Earned, today, I've got Terence Reilly, the president at Stanley on the show. Welcome to Terence.
Terence Reilly: Thanks Connor. Thanks for having me.
Connor Begley: And I have to say you're the first person I've got on by publicly calling you out on LinkedIn. I appreciate you being open to that.
Terence Reilly: Thanks for the good- natured peer pressure. I appreciate it. More importantly, just thanks for your interest in all the great stuff that the team here at Stanley is doing.
Connor Begley: Yeah. And you guys are absolutely on fire and we've got a bunch of the data on LinkedIn you can check out, but I think growing like a weed would be a short version of it. Both in terms of the data we track with influencers, I mean it's up thousands of percent over the last two, three years, and then I think you're up 10 X revenue over the last three years as well, right? Something like that.
Terence Reilly: Something like that for sure. We are experiencing just fantastic growth. We've really just made a connection to consumers, customers, and culture like very few brands have over the last many years, and it's a result of a lot of hard work, a lot of great decisions, and as I like to say, we've been smart, wrong and lucky.
Connor Begley: So let's dive in. I think the first topic I really want to hit, and it's a topic that's very near and dear to my heart because I tried to emphasize it internally, but it's this idea of speed. We've done a lot of CMOs on this podcast and just talked to a lot over the years and one of the things that I've observed across those that really do a good job is that they tend to operate very quickly. And I've observed that just one, looking at what you've done in the past, whether that was the first post Malone collaboration you did with Crocs, where it's like he talks about the brand organically, you guys hop on it or more recently with Danielle's car burning down and Stanley, or in the case of LinkedIn where you scheduled this 72 hours after we talked about it. Is that a real thing? Is that something that you try to emphasize internally or am I imagining things?
Terence Reilly: Well, it's certainly how I'm driven for sure if you're going to do it, and I think certainly part of that is in the culture. Yes, as you allude to, I was the chief marketing officer for Crocs a few years back and now president of Stanley and if you're going to do it, and so there's no time the present as my mother used to tell me to do something. Normally she meant chores, but that's just how it goes and a good idea is worth doing right away. And that's certainly how I try and live my life and to the extent that I can bring that to the cultures of the organizations I'm part of, I do my best to do that within limits. Not everybody has the same motor and not all ideas are good ideas and not all ideas deserve the immediacy, but I certainly think I have a good instinct of what needs to happen right now and so I'll choose those wisely.
Connor Begley: Yeah, I like that idea of saying this is the thing that we need to operate on quickly, but again, I was getting interviewed yesterday in reverse for a podcast and they were asking me about viral moments and what's necessary and why it works, et cetera. And I think looking very specifically at obviously what's gotten you guys a lot of attention in the last couple of weeks or so, most organizations couldn't say, " Hey, we're going to give this girl a car 24," hours after her car burns down.
Terence Reilly: I don't understand why I've heard this a lot from people and I don't get it. What stops an organization from doing these things is a really perplexing question and it's almost said as a statement, Connor, like we expect organizations to not be able to do that. So I think maybe I'm blind to it because I'm the president and I just did it so there was no red tape when you're at the top. There was not a lot of entanglements for me. And so I think that's a lesson for leaders because I've heard it in the weirdest way, like we can't do this. How could a company do this? And maybe it's because it started at the top, I just did it. And if it didn't start at the presidential level, well then all these layers get in the way and then the idea is dead, and then you don't have that immediacy that you talked about a few minutes ago. So I just don't know what it is, but we just did it because it was the right thing to do. As I'm getting older in life, I like to channel my 16- year- old self and my 16- year- old self would've saying, " Man, dude, how did you do these things? You're just a knucklehead from New Jersey that somehow did these things in your career." And I said, " Well, if I was 16, what would I have done if I was the president of that company and this person posted a photo or a video of their product, our product surviving a fire?" I like to think my 16- year- old self and your 16- year- old self or even Connor today would say, " I just buy her a new car." And if that's the instinct, and I think it was everybody's instinct, do it. Listen, Connor, the whole car thing has just been a ridiculous four weeks or five weeks for me personally and Stanley and people are calling it a master class. I've heard that, I don't even know how many times. It's almost embarrassing. It was just a dude responding to a consumer who had posted something in the most heroic way for our product, and I think I did what anybody else would've done who had the position to do it. I would just buy her a new car and replace it. But maybe it's not as easy as that, but I like to think it is.
Connor Begley: Yeah, I think the problem is particularly as you get to be a larger organization, I think people often operate out of fear, right? Fear of failure, fear of doing something wrong. Or I know for us organizationally, we made a shift in how we marketed maybe four or five months ago, and I remember this moment where I was talking to someone on our team who's been with the company five, six years and wanted to do something. This is actually for the podcast, oddly enough, and it was going to be like 40 bucks an episode, and she go, " Well, I need to get budget approval." I'm like, " It's$ 40. What do you mean?" I think that culture can entrench itself much more deeply than people realize, and it makes it so that it's very hard to operate quickly and agilely, which in this environment I think is quite important. And frankly I think is important in any environment that you have that you can't be afraid of doing something wrong, that you have to be willing to take some risk here and there.
Terence Reilly: No, my old boss used to say, " Scared money don't make money," and there's some truth to that and people, brands, every life is based on some risk and you don't want to be careless. And the response to the car video wasn't careless, it was care actually, and it just turned into something that had I known it would have a hundred million views, my post on LinkedIn has 1 million impressions. Had I known this would've happened, I probably would not have had the courage to have done it because every word that I said was analyzed. It's a real interesting thing. You learned a lot from it, and I'm grateful that it happened, most importantly for Danielle and the effect that it's had on the brand has been phenomenal over the last few weeks. And for the pride in the organization that it unwittingly created and the response to consumers, it was just real. And maybe that's why people reacted to it was unscripted. I did it in one take and maybe that's what the lesson is in all of it. We're all chasing wallets and I think we need to be chasing hearts, and I think that's the lesson that we all learned from this and in the most accidental but kindest of ways and what are you going to do? It's pretty neat in the end, but most importantly, the reaction has just been 100% positive sentiment, which is rare to do in 2023, as you probably know.
Connor Begley: Yeah, there's almost always going to be somebody that doesn't agree with some element of it. I think what's interesting about that is obviously you have this moment, this reaction, this thing that happens that's very special, but I think one of the things that's interesting for me in looking at the numbers is this wasn't like an isolated event. And what I mean by that is, you guys have been building up your relationship particularly with that community over the last several years in a fairly intentional way. And so I think some of the magic of going viral is like Stanley was a brand that she was excited to go and talk about in the first place. That she thought to even do that and that she thought her audience would connect with that messaging. And so I'm curious, taking a step back from then Danielle incident, talk about the last few years from an investment perspective with regards to social media, creators, all these kinds of things that you guys have investing in as a brand.
Terence Reilly: Yeah, thanks for that. This is a wonderful culmination of a lot of hard work and somehow this face, look at this face, became the face of Stanley for five weeks. Somehow we still sold a few bottles despite this mug out there, but the moment for it was the result of a lot of hard work for a lot of years by a lot of people that brought Stanley to really, I've said this before, it's a term I never knew before. A proprietary eponym. And proprietary eponym is Band- Aid, Xerox, Kleenex. And we've turned a bottle into a Stanley where people everywhere want a Stanley. All the kids at school have a Stanley, and that's hard to do, and that's the best part of the last few years. That the financial success and all that is we are a business, but it's magic that we have that. Countless TikTok videos of fit check, here's my Stanley before they're even talking about their fit. It's really a remarkable thing. And so I joined as president in 2020 after a fantastic experience at Crocs where I helped Andrew Reese turn Crocs around. I like to think I had a hand in reshaping the brand and that had me granted the opportunity to become president of Stanley in 2020. And we were a brand that was a $ 70 million brand that appealed to guys with a green bottle that was 107 years old and is one of the greatest products in history. It's an iconic brand, iconic product but there was a big opportunity to reposition the brand and appeal to new consumers, and that's just what we set out to do in 2020. And so what I told the team is that we're going to go from male, green and hot to female, colorful and cold, and of course nobody would've predicted what this team has accomplished. I didn't get this far in my dreams, but I knew there was an opportunity to make a difference and reposition the brand because I saw other great brands were just doing what they were doing and do it really well, but there was certainly an opportunity for us to do something different in this space. And we did it with an incredible team that just dug in and bought into what I wanted to do. And the new people joined who wanted to do that, and away we went to that 10 x kind of growth in just three or four years.
Connor Begley: Was there significant internal resistance? Because obviously you've got this customer you've had for a hundred years, in some ways you could be perceived as leaving them behind. Was that a challenge one, internally to get everybody bought in and then two, how do you do that? How do you make sure that you're not risking the existing business while going after something that is in some ways quite a bit different?
Terence Reilly: So I think as the famous singer Bob Dylan once sang, " When you've got nothing, you've got nothing to lose." And so 70 million is nothing to sneeze at, but we could do nothing and kind of be$ 70 million just trade on the legacy of the brand and sell a lot of green bottles to a lot of guys, and that's a crazy great thing, but there was so much more to get for the brand. What I heard Connor, when I was doing my diligence to see if this was a move I was going to make for my own career, everybody was telling me, " Oh, my dad had one of those" or" My mom was a school teacher and she took her Stanley to school for her soup, was hot all day." And I heard countless stories like that, so there was a thing there, but you don't have anything for me because I'm not doing that. Knowing just a little bit from my Crocs experience that color is something that consumers respond to, youth culture drives culture, and now more than ever before, female youth culture drives culture. You can see an emerging wellness trend is developing in 2020 and you put all those together in this wonderful alchemy, let's create new colors and let's work with influencers who drive culture. We found one who was an organic fan, three women who refer themselves as the Buy Guide, and they helped change this story for us. Right away we did a deal with the Buy Guide that has been an incredible partnership for many years now, and they told their fans about their love for the Stanley. And we started small selling a few units and then selling out, which is a term Stanley had never heard before, and it's part of just culture, drop culture and exclusive culture and limited editions and not something Stanley didn't have to do. And that's something I learned how to do at Crocs and from my days way back at Foot Action and things like that. And we did that and then slowly 500 units became 5, 000, became 50, 000 became 5 million and away we went. And it's also by listening to consumers, listening to influencers, listening to women and doing what they say because that's what they want. And that's been a real hallmark of the last few years.
Connor Begley: I think that's one of the things that people underestimate about the internet. In a lot of ways it was reduced to early on, " Oh, I can run digital ads at scale," but I actually think what makes the internet special in a lot of ways is the ability to connect in a very human way. Like I'm sitting in my pajamas or whatever in Lafayette, California and I can connect with someone in Lafayette, Louisiana in a way that's very human and very direct that I never was able to historically. And I think that human element is actually the element that people tend to miss out on when they think about the internet, at least in the past. I think it's starting to come around and change.
Terence Reilly: Yeah, I think what's interesting for us is that all of this started on the internet and also started in the unknown days of Covid. I joined in April of 2020, but it all started with the Buy Guide and online and Instagram in particular and all driving traffic to our own Stanley1913.com site, and it was all there, all contained. And again, the numbers aren't exact, but you get the idea of 500 became 5, 000 became 15, 000, you just build this and started to see some momentum and then that allowed our talented team to go talk and knock on the doors of people that weren't returning our calls before. Some of America's premier retailers, to take it from just DTC to now a tactical or tactile on- shelf experience because especially coming out of Covid, people needed to get out of their homes. People treated just a simple task of going to Target or Dick's Sporting Goods as an escape from their office, their basement, wherever they were cooped up. And so then slowly started to see two feet of space with Stanley to six feet to eight feet to now entire walls. And that part of the brand experience is now you can grab one off the shelf and walk home with it. I was just at Dick's Sporting Goods this morning here in my neighborhood to pick up a Christmas gift for my nephew, and I saw four people shopping the Stanley shelf at 8: 15 in the morning and picking them up. And you could see the fun, the joy they had in their face of the experience, that they had one in their hands, and that's a big part of the story. So it started in this internet digital space, and now it's something that people rush to Dick's or Target or Shields or wherever to grab one and pull it off the shelf, and that's a real big part of the journey and it's not something to be taken lightly.
Connor Begley: Yeah, I think people actually, in a lot of ways that retail model has flipped where the retailer now wants to see that you've got traction online, right. You've built up demand without them that they can then go and amplify. And I know that for you, I think the way that you described it, at least from what I've read, was it used to be in the dusty corner of the bottom shelf and now you've got front page visibility at a lot of these retailers, obviously because of the foot traffic and the demand that you're driving.
Terence Reilly: No question. That brick and mortar experience is now so vital, but it also then whips around again where just last week on Amazon, we were searched more than AirPods, Taylor Swift and Barbie. That's data. And so it does become a whole wonderful alchemy of distribution choices and the places that we are, and we are no longer on the bottom shelf next to a dusty can of tennis balls. We are really, when you walk in the store now at some of America's leading retailers, and that magic is now something that we want to really lasso and take into'24, '25 and beyond while also still creating magic for our own DTC site with limited editions and exclusives and some really fun collaborations that we've got planned for 2024.
Connor Begley: Yeah, actually you lead right into what I wanted to ask next, which is this idea of collaborations. And I think that's something that we've tried to push pretty aggressively, but still I'm not at the level that I want to be, and I think reading about the way that you approach it, I think has been really inspiring. And I think what's interesting, and I want to talk about this more, the influencer and individual collaborations, but you also do a lot of brand collaborations. So you collaborate, whether it's Peeps or all these different brands that are amazing. So one, what made you decide this is something that we should push into really aggressively? What was, I think there's intuition there, but I'm curious if there was any specific things that you were thinking about? And then how hard is it to do those at scale? How many of them are you doing a year? Just talk about all that.
Terence Reilly: The hardest one is the first one because the first one typically now sets you free when it works. And that was the case with Post Malone, was the first Crocs collaboration. And once that hit and it broke our website on the day of launch, it allowed us to do a second one and on then when I would call anybody, they would know that we did Post first and they would want a taste of that. And it's still a playbook that Crocs run so magnificently today, and that was just simple to do once you did. It's so obvious. And once you have some incredible artists or brands using your product as their canvas, it just amplifies your brand and theirs, and that's what's happened. That's the fun part about what we did at Crocs and what they still do today is that it's no longer a joke of a brand. When I joined as the CMO, the meme was those holes are where your dignity leaks out. So try and overcome that as a CMO. But the team did that by creating a relevance of collaborations and having some of the coolest people create Crocs, and now the coolest people wear Crocs, and that meme is from a bygone era, and that's a really cool thing. And then at Stanley, we weren't ready for it right away when I joined, certainly I know how to do that, but the consumer would've said, " What even is this?" Because we didn't have license yet to really widen our aperture as a brand until 2023 and that's when Lainey Wilson entered the chat. I saw a video of Lainey Wilson on TikTok. I didn't know Lainey Wilson, I can't say that I knew who she was or her music. This is in early April of'23. And I saw a video over in TikTok and I saw how talented she was and how beautiful she is, and most importantly, I saw how she actually owned a moment and she took it and she owned it. And she spun it around about criticism or actually compliments about her body. And I said, " Man, who is this woman? She's something else." So I went to Spotify and I saw her latest album had a song called Watermelon Moonshine, and my eyeball said, that's a Stanley color. And so that evening I wrote Ellen and Leah on our product team and I said, " Hey, if you can, I'd love you to imagine what a Watermelon Moonshine Quencher could look like." And a day or two later, they created something and I linked in with Donna McQueen at Lainey's Management Company and said, " Hey, would you be interested in the Stanley- Lainey collaboration?" She said, " What do you have in mind?" I fired off the images and renderings that Leah and Ellen had created, and they were like, wow. In July we sold out of Lainey Wilson Stanley's in 20 minutes. Then we did it again in November with 4x the amount of units and a quicker sellout. These are the things now that we have the license to do. And Lainey was a bit of our Post Malone at Crocs, and now we have the chance to do more and more of these in'24 as people see what's possible. And so a really cool story. But here's my favorite part of this story. This was my idea, and when I sent it to the team, they were like, " What is this guy thinking about?" But then once the team realized what was possible, they made this idea out of my head better, and here's why. I was just happy saying, " Just send them in the cardboard box like we do." But the team said, we should create special boxes for this, a special product. And what happened is after everybody got their Laineys in the mail, you started to see hundreds of unboxing videos on TikTok, and guess what the first thing you see is? It's the box, which is not just a cardboard box, and it's part of the whole experience. And that made my idea their idea and a better idea, and that's the coolest part about what leadership can do and sometimes forcing an organization to do something, they take it and make it better. And that's happened time and time again.
Connor Begley: Yeah, I think the idea of one as a leader, trying to inspire them to take risks, to do something new, to do something they haven't done before is really powerful because to your point, it then gives them the license to go out and say, " Hey, let's run with this," or" Okay, that works well, let's do it again. Let's be even more ambitious. Let's go here. Let's go there." I think that's really great. I think the other thing that I really liked as I was reading more about you going into this interview was where you had basically, I'll call them brand building principles or guiding principles. And I'll list them just so people can hear them, and I would suggest people reading them because I, as a marketer very much connected with them. So the first one was be authentic, makes sense, be transparent, number two, make it meaningful, live out your company values and then let others speak for you, which is obviously something that is near and dear to our heart. I'm curious, is that messaging something that the team is actively aware of and is that how you think about guiding their decision- making while also allowing them to be creative and do things that are different, unique, taking risks, et cetera?
Terence Reilly: Oh, I think so. We're really authentic, very transparent. I think living our values, we do that really well. The video that we did just was a real extension of real time of that. It was brand leadership, it was product leadership, it was people leadership, all in a fifty- five second little nugget there. And I think my leadership style is just to give people space and time because they were hired for a reason and a lot of times it's just to set their compass or set direction. Other times they set the direction or compass. And also people tell me no. Lainey was one thing that I was not going to take no for an answer, but I take no for an answer often. There's a lot of smart people that work at Stanley and I'm just fortunate to be leading this organization, but get out of people's way. They know better, and sometimes I know better, but more times than not, the team knows better. And I think all of that is the wonderful chemistry that we have at Stanley. I'll tell you, ninety- five percent of the bare force as I call our team, feels valued. That's a self- reported number, and I think it's because there's a lot of latitude to be a builder, creator and inventor at Stanley and do it in those ways that you outmined in those bullets earlier.
Connor Begley: Yeah, I think there's a phrase that they say which is like, I feel empowered to make things better and action on them. That is a really telling response organizationally as to how empowered people feel, right. So I think one of the other things that's really interesting while we're on this topic of culture is this idea of having a culture that's fun to work in as well. Right? And I think I stumbled across this quote the other day was the founders who are fun to work with are also as a rule, the ones who tend to be the most successful. This is Paul Graham who's the founder of YC, and that's an observation I've also had in my life. It's pretty easy to tell that you try to bring some joy and excitement to work as well. Is that something that you look for in the people that you hire? Is that something that's an intentional attribute you hire for and how do you try to make it a fun culture internally?
Terence Reilly: I don't know that people would describe me as fun. I have a real interesting blend of competitiveness and empathy. When you do all those HR kind of assessments for a long time, which is almost like sometimes they're almost the opposite sides of the same coin. And those attributes that I have seem to have served me well. I do not like to lose in anything. I am really driven to win or do my very best. You can't always win, but I also care about people. I think people would tell you that, but I want people to be happy. I want them to be content and enjoy what they're doing. That's for sure.
Connor Begley: I can definitely connect. I'm aggressively competitive, and I also think I tend to care a lot about people sometimes to a fault as a leader, it's hard at times like this isn't quite the right fit or this isn't quite the right role for this person to make those decisions is challenging.
Terence Reilly: That happens, and certainly that's something that I experienced right away at Stanley. There were people that didn't believe that pink was a Stanley color, and you'd be surprised to know what one of our top selling colors is today. So you had to make that change. And some people didn't want to make that change, and that doesn't make them bad people. It just means that they're not going to help you get where you want to take this place. And I was empowered. I was charged with growing Stanley beyond this$ 70 million sleepy little 170 year old brand. And we did that by forcing change. Some people left, some people had to make the decision that doesn't sound like you want to do this with me. And I was fortunate that several new leaders came in and changed the culture of Stanley along with me to be a very servant leadership culture, one of competition and empathy, and one with enormous talent that continued to then attract new talent, who had a really great experience doing the things that we have done over the last three years. And I wouldn't have been able to do any of this alone. The team that is here deserves all the credit. I heard a quote a couple of weeks ago to give credit away. That is something you learn as you mature in your career and in your life. And I didn't know that when I was 35, I wanted the credit. And now at 56, you want to give credit away, and if you don't have that arc in your career, you might've did it wrong. And I'm fortunate to have learned that late in life, but I learned it, and that matters.
Connor Begley: Yeah, I think it's difficult. I think inherently a lot of people are insecure and not in a mean way, not to say anything poorly, but just part of getting credit for yourself is proving to yourself that you know what you're doing as much as about reinforcing your own self- image as it is about the image that other people have about you. And so in some ways, I wonder how much of that's actually avoidable. You almost have to prove to yourself that you know what you're doing first before you can then say, okay, " Now it's time for me to give other people credit. It's certainly something that I've thought a lot about."
Terence Reilly: Oh, it's true. It's a real learning in life. I don't know how I became the CMO of Crocs. I don't know how I became president of Stanley. People believed in me more than maybe I believed in myself, which is the amazing part. When somebody believes in you more than you might believe in yourself, that is gold. And you should know that. I didn't know that at the time. But man, somebody believes in you to give you a job, to give you a promotion, to tell you they want you to do this, that matters. And I think we take that for granted. We're all in pursuit of the promotion, but not the why behind it. It means somebody believes in you to do it, and then you got to believe in yourself. And that's a key. I'll tell you what, this whole car thing, when the video hit and millions and millions of views, we were approached by every possible media outlet to do interviews. And I'd looked you right in the eye Connor and tell you, 15 years ago, I would've been on the Today Show Plaza with Savannah and Hoda just catching bouquets that I thought I earned as some brilliant something. That would've felt good for a hot second for me, but it would've been the wrong thing to do for the company for the reason why we did it. And so we didn't do any interviews. Everything that you saw, there was not a single interview. There was nothing except the moment. And that's something you learn and I'm grateful that it happened when I'm an old man and not when I was a younger guy, because I would've wanted all the bouquets and all the accolades for doing a master class in something.
Connor Begley: Yeah, I mean what's funny is you were in some ways almost forced into the spotlight with this video, right? You were just trying to do a quick response, get back to her quickly, one take, et cetera. And now for the first time, you're now really the face of the brand in some ways. Is that going to be something that you try to continue to do moving forward, or are you going to try and take a step back from the spotlight? Because obviously now there's a hundred million times people have looked at you just in that one video, let alone everything else.
Terence Reilly: Yeah. So obviously, yes, all unintended. And I just had a cute story the other day. I was on a tram in an airport and I saw this sweet young girl, 12 or 13 years old. I saw her hold up her phone and show it to her mom and point at me. I obviously knew what was going on, and I said, " Do you know who I am?" And she goes, " Yes." I said, " From TikTok?" and she goes, " Yes, I love that you gave that woman a car, and I have a Stanley." And I go, " What color?" That was just a sweet little moment. So that's happened a couple of times, but I have no intentions of being the face of this anything. What I think it has unlocked for us though, Connor is a spirit of the brand, which is real and the opportunity to react to things like this. We have a whole stack of letters now in our office from all sorts of requests and asks. Some are sweet, some are opportunistic, but I think it gives us an opportunity to show up more as a brand that does this anyway. And we're already very philanthropic. We volunteer more than 2, 000 hours volunteering. We have the Stanley Creators fund, and all this happened before this video. So I think it's giving us license to do more in a fun way and have Stanley show up in these cool moments and have our team, the bare force do it. I can step aside, I did it and have other people do it on behalf of all of us at Stanley.
Connor Begley: Yeah, that'll be really empowering for the team, I think, right, to give them that same opportunity. We'll do one fun end of show question. I could run on this for a couple hours. I know you're a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. I'm curious if you've been able to swing your newfound celebrity status into meeting him, or maybe you've met him in the past and I didn't realize.
Terence Reilly: I have been fortunate to meet him. So yes, that's happened. No, I haven't. People ask me my dream collaboration and my dream collaboration, I would love Stanley's on stage with the entire E Street band so they can hydrate during their blistering three- hour sets. So that's my selfish answer. Our consumers want a Taylor Swift collaboration, so there's a difference. So Bruce, if you're out there just before you always play working on the highway, you typically take a big swig and you spit it into the air. I want that to come from a Stanley, so make sure Bruce hears this Connor. But I know our consumers would love a Taylor Swift or Olivia Rodrigo or some of their heroes like Bruce Springsteen is mine. And so those kinds of things we hope to do someday, but you never know.
Connor Begley: That's amazing. Well, Terence, I really appreciate you taking out the time, like I said, and congrats again on all the success and really excited to watch what you and the team continue to accomplish with Stanley. It's super impressive and fun to dig in on.
Terence Reilly: Yeah. Well Connor, thank you very much. You're talking to me, so I probably used I a lot, but this does not happen with the extraordinary bare force and everybody at Stanley who's created this, and I just get to talk about it. So thank you for letting me talk on their behalf.
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Drumroll please…today’s guest is Terence Reilly, president of TikTok’s favorite water bottle brand, Stanley 1913. While the brand went mega-viral in November for replacing a woman’s car after her Stanley cup survived a fire, it’s enjoyed remarkable growth over the last few years, jumping from $70M in annual revenue in 2020 to $750M in 2023.
We start the episode by unpacking Stanley’s explosive growth in recent years, and Terence explains why he has a bias for action. Of course, we then dive into the brand’s decision to buy Danielle a new car, and Terence shares why he believes more brands can—and should—take similar action. Next, we take a step back and discuss how the 110-year-old brand appealed to a new consumer base by repositioning from “male, green, and hot” to “female, colorful, and cold,” thanks largely to early endorsements from The Buy Guide and Terence’s learnings from his time as CMO at Crocs. Terence then discusses the brand’s increased investment in building out its community of consumers and social media advocates, and reveals how Stanley’s rapid rise in popularity allowed the business to expand beyond DTC and take up entire walls of shelf-space at top retailers. We learn about Terence’s approach to collaborations with other brands and creators, like Post Malone x Crocs and Stanley x Lainey Wilson, before hearing his guiding principles to brand building and leadership—and whether he wants to continue being the face of Stanley.
- Stanley 1913 - https://www.stanley1913.com/
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- Terence’s LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/terence-reilly-193198/
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