Quite a few of our customers are small businesses, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and home-based businesses. Our wide range of marketing tools and affordable prices combined with responsive customer care and rapid turnaround has proven to be a vital part of their operation.
Throughout the year, we ask our customers to learn how we can better serve them and help them operate more efficiently by delivering maximum value. Occasionally, we take the opportunity to shine a spotlight on one of the businesses that orders our products. Here’s one that made us smile.
Meet Trevor Danielson, founder, owner and operator of Lazy Bandido – a company that sells high quality hand-woven Nicaraguan hammocks with bold designs inspired by the culture of Latin America. It is a completely online business and can be found at:
NDF: Tell us your company history.
Trevor: Lazy Bandido has been in business for about 1 year. Currently the business operates as an online retailer of Nicaraguan hammocks and plans to begin placing hammocks in stores around the US very soon.
NDF: What is your title and your responsibilities?
Trevor: I am the founder and day-to-day “Dictator” of business. I primarily handle the sales and marketing aspects of Lazy Bandido.
NDF: How did you find yourself in this business?
Trevor: After graduating college with a degree in Spanish, I traveled to Nicaragua with the goal of meeting locals and being invited to live in their homes. I wanted an authentic experience. I arrived in Pochomil 2 days before New Years, no other Americans in sight, and probably 10,000 local Nicaraguans crowding the beaches.
I was able to use restaurant’s hammock for the night. I slept outside—it was the first time I’d spent an entire night in a hammock and it was surprisingly comfortable. The next night I made friends with other locals and slept in another hammock further down the beach. I met another local who invited me to Managua and let me stay on a hammock in his family’s garage. I spent 30 nights in hammocks and I’ve never slept more comfortably in my life.
Fast forward 1 year and I’ve moved to Hawaii and I’m broke, sleeping on a friend’s ridiculously uncomfortable futon, with metal bars poking into my back. I’ve just accepted a job as an outside sales rep for a large corporation selling copiers. It was depressing. Just a few months ago, I’d been lounging in the breeze in the most comfortable hammocks I’d ever experienced, waking up each day to a new experience. Now I had to go shopping for buttoned-up shirts and business slacks.
I stayed up all night thinking about the hammocks, the culture of Nicaragua, how everything in America is so easy but people are so stressed-out, overworked, and often unfulfilled. It struck me as ironic that in Nicaragua, where there is more than enough to keep a person awake at night– the people live more relaxed and content than we ever do.
That contrast of relaxation amid chaos inspired the name “Lazy Bandido” (Spanish spelling of “Bandito”). It stood for the culture there—chaotic and sometimes lawless, but relaxed, seemingly unworried, and comfortable with it all. I got up and started jotting down names of all the characters from Latin American history and came up with the Revolutionary, the Patron (dictator), the Saint, the Peasant (campesino), and the Gringo. [These are product names.]
“Welcome the Fight Against Hard Work and Responsibility” became the theme of the business.
NDF: How long have you been doing this?
Trevor: I’ve been thinking about it for 3 years—the business has been running for about 1 year.
NDF: What sort of education do you have that prepared you for this work?
Trevor: I’m very lazy. I’ve spent far too much time in hammocks when I probably should’ve been doing something else productive. I speak Spanish and have spent a decent amount of time traveling throughout Latin America. I’m fascinated with the culture and this business was born out of that fascination. It gives me the opportunity to import one of the finest hand-crafted products from Latin America, and to import a bit of the culture and mystique of the region.
NDF: Can you tell us about a noteworthy experience while in this business?
Trevor: Every time I hired someone to help me with a certain aspect of the business, I was amazed at the progress we made. I have no design skills and had to contact my artist friend, Eli Larkins, who lives in Hawaii, to design the hammocks (stripe colors, patterns, etc).
I showed him pictures, artwork, and propaganda posters relating to each character. Within minutes he started sketching the designs and I couldn’t stop smiling—that’s when the business started to become real for me. If not for him, I’d have six hammocks that were all red and black and probably would’ve sold nothing. As it turns out, everybody who I talk to absolutely loves the bold designs of our hammocks. They catch the eye, and I think they capture the feeling of the culture where they’re made.
NDF: What do you like most about your working in this business?
Trevor: I love using the hammocks and I love reading about or watching documentaries and films about the characters that inspired Lazy Bandido. Mostly, I love the fact that this business is providing for my daughter and her mother and doing so in a way that highlights Nicaraguan and Latin American culture.
NDF: What are your plans for the future of your business?
Trevor: We’re planning on shooting a Calendar within the next month or so based on the “Nap Boldly” philosophy. It’ll be 12 months of our costumed characters napping in extremely bold or socially inappropriate settings. I don’t think anyone has ever taken a hammock into a shark cage before—I’d like to change that. Also, we plan on selling our hammocks in retail stores in select areas within the next few months.
NDF: How do you utilize Next Day Flyers?
Trevor: I discovered Next Day flyers because I needed hang tags and packaging stickers for my hammocks. True to the Lazy Bandido philosophy, I spent a little too much time relaxing and hadn’t ordered these products ahead of time. When I needed to order smaller runs of these at the very last-minute, Next Day Flyers was the only company I found that didn’t want to “punish” me for not ordering 20,000 copies 3 weeks ahead of time.
The prices were extremely fair and made it seem like you guys were actually on my team rather than trying to extract double the price. What I especially loved about Next Day Flyers was that when I submitted the artwork for my products, I had made a few mistakes, didn’t have proper bleeds, etc., but everyone I spoke to understood my rush and put in a little extra work and passed along instructions to production or whoever was next in the process to fix this or fix that or allow this or that with my tags and stickers. My order got done on time, everybody was more than extremely helpful and understanding and the quality was outstanding. I was extremely impressed and I’ve recommended you to friends.
NDF: Would you share an embarrassing moment that you learned a lesson from?
Trevor: Trying to get my first shipment from Nicaragua through customs. I made all the mistakes: lack of proper paperwork, missing the required “Made in Nicaragua” tags.
When I got the call that my hammocks were held up in Miami, I spent the next several days making frantic calls to my designer to make garment tags, had to hire a customs broker, and have a team of half a dozen people in Florida attach garment tags to hammocks while I tried to coordinate all of this from loud, hot, chaotic markets with spotty cell service in Managua, Nicaragua. Not fun…but…we’re much better prepared now.
NDF: Care to offer any words of encouragement?
Trevor: Have fun with your business and with your brand. Also, spend less time talking about customer service and put more effort into actually providing great service. Every transaction might not be the most profitable, and in some cases, like returns, you feel like you’re taking a step back. Either way, make sure your customers are happy, and if someone has to come out ahead, it’s them, not you.
One of our first customers wanted to return her hammock after she ordered it—not because she didn’t like it—she just hadn’t fully read the description and was looking for a different kind of hammock. We not only offered to honor our 110% guarantee, I sent her a long email with links, recommendations and prices of competitors hammocks that fit what she was looking for—she was so appreciative of my help that she decided to keep it and loves it. One return isn’t a big deal. But the positive feelings and word of mouth you’ll get from treating that customer fairly may turn some of those apparent failures into your biggest successes.
NDF: Is there a motivational message you’d like to pass along?
Trevor: For all those who are fed up with their cycle of work-sleep-work-work-work we are your company! Our hammocks are the tools to fight back. Even if you’ve never used a hammock, once you climb in one of our hammocks, you’ll be converted. And even if it goes unused a bright, bold, colorful hammock strung up on your patio or even in your living room is one of the best decorative touches you good ever give a room. Finally, YOU DON’T NEED TWO TREES! Hammocks can be hung between a tree and a post, a ceiling and a wall, from rafters, anything sturdy. You’re average living room—once you locate your wall studs—are perfectly fine—and we offer hanging kits for indoor and outdoor use!
NDF: Thank you for those words of advice and your fun and interesting story!
Would you like your business to get free publicity by being featured on “The Business Card,” a regular NDF Blog column that features your business?