Travis and Haley Seera, the makers and designers of the first isopropyl alcohol personal fireplace, share tips for creating your dream product, how their ‘couple-preneurship’ works, and the challenges that enabled a dream to become a multimillion-dollar reality.
Join us today on the show as we toast to their success and create our own FLÎKR Fire® moments (let there be fire! 🙂 )
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:
- The story behind FLÎKR Fire®
- How to overcome the challenges of co-managing a business with your spouse
- Best practices to nurture business and married life
- FLÎKR Fire® ’s inspirational impact
- Tips to transform a brilliant product idea into a reality
- Steps to creating your own dream product
Check out how to use this amazing tabletop fireplace! (I roasted a marshmallow over it in the show, and it tasted amazing)
FLÎKR Fire® Personal Fireplace
Step 1: Set it on the base.
FLÎKR Fire® Personal Fireplace
Step 2: Fill it 2/3 full with 99% isopropyl alcohol.
FLÎKR Fire® Personal Fireplace
Step 3: Light it with a lighter (carefully now).
FLÎKR Fire® Personal Fireplace
Step 4: Use the white base to snuff the flame or a metal jar lid (as I did below).
We have also roasted mini marshmallows as a family on our kitchen table too!
- Buy Your Own TableTop Fireplace: https://bit.ly/3HkpGQF
- Upwork: https://www.upwork.com/
- Fiverr: https://www.fiverr.com/
ABOUT HALEY AND TRAVIS SEERA
FLÎKR Fire® is the brainchild of Travis Seera and now the collaborative business of Travis and Haley Seera. The past several years have been an endless adventure, sharing both marriage and business. But in the end, though at times a bumpy road, enriching peoples’ lives with memorable moments makes the journey worth taking.
Travis is a thoroughly discontent COO, he is constantly working to refine both products and manufacturing. Learning to run his endless ideas through Haley first, the company is still in business and even thriving! FLÎKR Fire® was ideated in 2010 with a final product not arriving for another seven years. It all started with the desire for fireplace ambience in his small apartment. His primary mandate was that it run on inexpensive and readily available fuel. Until FLÎKR Fire’s® release, there was no indoor fireplace on the market running on isopropyl alcohol. Seven years of tinkering led to a finalized material and shape; a welcome reception from family and friends led to dipping a toe into broader sales. He’s currently doing what he loves alongside a woman he adores.
Haley is the epic CEO, she somehow manages over a thousand accounts, hundreds of emails a day, and finds time to cook dinner. Running everything from customer relations to finance to sales channels, she is the fuel that keeps the whole machine running. Since childhood she has wanted to run her own business. That passion, alongside various leadership positions since, have refined in her the ability to tackle the new horizons seen almost daily as an entrepreneur. She does all this while designing and maintaining an impeccable home.
CONNECT HALEY AND TRAVIS SEERA
- Website: https://www.flikrfireplace.com/
Just do it, make a shape. If we’re assuming a physical product, it just make one, we’ll worry about making 10 or hundreds or thousands later. That’s a manufacturing problem right now. Let’s just get it out of your head and actually have an object. I come to the M perfectly empowered podcast with a leading DIY lifestyle blogger on a Fullmer where women are inspired with authentic stories and practical strategies to reclaim their hearts and homes by empowering transformation.
One imperfect day at a time. Welcome back to another episode of the imperfectly empowered podcast. I am your host on a Fullmer today. I am introducing you to a power couple. They were the first to bring. The original isopropyl alcohol personal fireplace into our homes from a small apartment dream to a multimillion dollar reality, Travis and Haley Sierra are now the C O O N C E O of FLÎKR fire.
They are passionate about inspiring others to relax and dream with their own FLÎKR fire moments. Welcome the dreaming and doing power couple who were the first to bring the tabletop fireplace into our homes, Travis and Haley Sera. Well, Travis and Haley, Sarah, welcome to the perfectly empowered podcast.
It’s so fun to have two people on an interview. Usually it’s just me and one other person. So this is exciting. Thank you so much. Yeah. We’re excited to be here. Yeah. And I have to point out for people watching this back here is the little guy that we will be talking about. This is the FLÎKR fire. I love that you call it the little guy we call these things.
We, you know, this we little fireplace thing all the time. I like you’re on board with that. Yeah. I love it. Well, we may have a live demonstration later. This will be live fire or a live demonstrations. Hopefully it don’t burn down my house. Go handle it. Yeah. Yeah. So I want to start back to the beginning because the story really started in your apartment is what I understand Travis.
This was sort of your brain child, so we have to press rewind and go back. What was it? 10 years now? It was some time ago. Yeah, it would have been probably a 2010, so almost 11 years now. I was, yeah, I was living in Seattle. I was a horizon window cleaner and Seattle is kind of cold and gray as a lot of people though.
And I miss the, just the ambiance of the fireplace in my childhood home. I really missed that. And I thought, yeah, I want to get that. And how can I get that in my third floor, 700 square foot apartment in Seattle. And so started looking around at some different options. And most of the little ventless fireplaces that were available in the market were they ran on a bioethanol jelled, ethanol, something you had to order.
And I thought, you know, there’s gotta be an easier way to do this out of a common fuel. And I don’t know about you, but sometimes you’ll see something and you’re like, oh, I could do that for a lot cheaper and a lot quicker. And then you looked at you’re talking to the right person. Yes. It’s years later, and many thousands of dollars later, you’re like, you know, I’d probably just save money and a lot of effort and I just bought, but it worked well.
You know, we ended up with this little guy that runs on rubbing alcohol and it’s just kind of hobby for many years, but all out of that initial desire, you know, mass sales, we were never the goal. You know, the goal was I saw a need for myself, so I, I did my best to fill it, uh, resonate with us on several levels because one, I absolutely love fireplaces.
And what’s funny is you’re talking about how you look at something and you’re like, oh, I can do this for cheaper. You know, we’ve renovated three houses now. And I love fireplaces so much that I have designed into every single house, a fireplace. And I mean like finagling bits and pieces here and there, I would like take apart kits to create a fireplace.
So I definitely understand that on multiple levels and some of my ideas absolutely did not work, but the concept of creating, I think, is the other piece that I’m resonating with here. Has that always been part of your character just inherent to who you are? Haley’s nodding back there in the background.
Yeah. Like have you always been a creator? Somebody who says, Hmm, I would like to make this happen and I’m going to try to put these pieces together to do it. Have you always been that way or is that something that’s transpired over time? It’s funny. At a 30,000 foot view. When you look back at life, I can say, yeah, I’ve always been hands-on, you know, I can look at a lot of things.
I did, we did not grow up wealthy by any means. My dad was a school teacher, my mom raising three kids and in the country here in Tennessee, I remember when Devin high school. So I did not have fashion at all. Like we could not afford the cool, latest and greatest. And, uh, this one pair of jeans and I’d look at other kids pairs of jeans and like they had cool patches on them or like a big leather label or something on the back.
And I remember going home and asking mom, and she teach me how to sew because my dad used to work in textiles. And so we’d have this big bin of leather randomly scraps. And so I’m like, Ooh, I want to do that. Like I can try to make something cool. And it’s buddies, it looked back at that and I think, does that mean I wanted to be a fashion designer?
No, not at all, but I think I loved working with my hands and I liked, um, it was just simple problem solving and I’m like, well, yeah, I can do that. And it’s kind of scratches that creative itch. So yeah, I think it just in general in life, it’s I remember about, uh, my very first motorcycle, this old beat up thing.
I remember staring at it in a garage. I was so proud of it. And I was staring at the garage one time and I looked at the back and I was like, why is like, there’s this massive blinker over here? And then two feet over here. There’s another huge blinker in this. I was like, why is all this so big? It’s cluttered?
And I don’t like it visually. So I bought a mini. And started taking it apart. I’m going to just like Y yeah. We say often in our business here, progress is made by the discontent and it’s a healthy discontent, you know, it’s for instance, it sounds like you’re discontent without a fire. So you’re going to figure out how to exactly right.
Santa needs a fireplace mantle. We need stockings for him to put seriously. It’s so weird. Like I can’t do stockings on a stair rail. That’s no good. It takes away all of the magic. And I have to ask, did you DIY your own leather pants for your motorcycle? Cause I’m hearing a theme here by that time. No, I know it was unfortunate.
I think that could have been like a new market for you. Oh boy. Your own leather patched motorcycle for the tape, that and a lot of directions and that will refrain.
I Kaylee, you came into this journey a little bit later. So tell me a little bit how, because Travis, you were kind of in the process of creating this product. At what point Hailey, did you meet Travis? Where were you at in this journey? Yeah, the product. So in it 2018, I get my years confused. Yeah. So in about like February, March of 2018, I moved back to Tennessee and I was working for REI at the time, running outdoor programs, marketing and events.
And we were doing a big grand opening here in Chattanooga. And I was throwing multiple different events and wanting to have smores at all the events to kind of tie back into like a camping theme. And one of the venues I chose wouldn’t let us have like fire pits or anything. And I happened to know someone that had seen him at like a little holiday market here in Chattanooga.
So at the point I met him, he had done one or two little like holiday pop-ups and sold. 90 fireplaces, a hundred fireplaces, something like that and thought like, oh wow. Like people really like it. I should file as an LLC. So he became an LLC January of 2018. And then I reached out to him in March. So just two months later and it was super funny.
I emailed him and I’m just asking him like liability questions. Like, can I rent these, do I have to buy them with pricing, blah, blah, blah. And like, Professional. And I get an email back and it was literally like, hello, miss REI. Like my day was just made and just on and on and on and on and on my day was doing, it’s made by your liability question,
kind of storefront. Like I had no idea that he lived in the middle of nowhere and was making these in his little garage or anything. And so we met up at like a local furniture store that did sell them at the time was like one retailer so that he could show me. And then we ended up chatting for like four hours.
And I remember walking away from that conversation and calling my mom and being like, oh my goodness, I just met this guy. And he has this amazing product and literally no clue what to do with the business. Like I want to help run his business. So that’s how we met. And we started dating a few months later and then kicked off doing like wholesale shows.
And then that’s where the business really took off. And we got married a year later. And I quit my job and was full-time I love that. So this for reference, this was like three years ago. Yes, approximately. Yeah. Okay. So I have to ask, cause I mean, this is such a unique situation in that there’s a lot of couples that work together, but this is an interesting dynamic because Travis you’re the creator, but didn’t really know how to launch it from like a business standpoint.
And then Hailey, you come in, tell me a little bit about how that communication worked between you guys, because there had to be some, you know, we’re all about like real talk here. And the fact is probably starting a relationship here, whether you admit it or not at some point in there, so it’s like a personal relationship, but then also professional one where Haley, at some point you have to come in and be like, Nope, what you’re doing is bad.
This is what we need to do. Tell me, like, what are some, maybe you still have these learning curves as we all do, but tell me about some of those moments where there had to be some head buds. I mean, tell me about what that process was like and how you worked through those conversations and that dynamic, because it’s unusual.
Oh, for sure. So I would say every year has been significantly different. So like the first year I was still working for REI full-time, but he had created me an email address. He was actually paying me a little bit. And that was like, I think we almost did best in that because it was very much like his thing, but I was like coming along and supporting and then giving my advice and expertise I did have, and like certain areas of things from just retail experience.
Business management and stuff. And so that, I feel like we did pretty well the first year. And then the second year, like me quitting my job and career to focus on his, I think was super hard for me initially, because it was like, I didn’t want to step on his toes. Like I didn’t want to come in and just start taking everything over on the business front and be like, you were doing all this wrong, but like, he wasn’t even on QuickBooks.
Like, I mean, there was no record of anything taxes weren’t being paid. Like
Travis, go ahead. Yeah, it was, it was quite a mess, but I remember being super hesitant. Like I felt like I had to run everything by and initially to that, like second year we were fully like I was in the shop with him manufacturing every day. So I would help them and have my hands in cement and be packaging and then be back in a little office doing emails, but it took me quite a few months of being.
Do you want to be on this call with me? What do you think about this? Are you okay if I do this? Um, because I still felt like it was like just the touchy touchy of like going to taking over. And then I think finally, when I felt like he gave me the reins and was like, Hey, that’s your side of the business?
Like the business is your baby. The product is my baby. I think we definitely divided and conquered really well, but I think that’s almost. More of the conflict and learning how to communicate actually came in even more, even though it seemed like we now have our roles in it’s more clear. I think it actually got more complicated.
Oh. But I don’t know it. And that’s kind of where we’re at now because Travis role has really changed over the years. He was always hands-on manufacturing. And as of January of this past year, so it’s almost been a year. He has not had to do any manufacturing. We’ve outsourced that to his brother’s company.
That’s still local, but it’s not his responsibility anymore. And so he’s more new product development, research and development, that type of thing. So it’s a little more, some of the conversation can get tense. I know she put it well, it is just telling me a couple months ago. She was like, you know, I think some of our problem is, you know, ish about my world and what I do, because I tell you, and you’re not stupid.
And I know ish about manufacturing because I was there and I did it back in the day, even though I don’t know as much as you know. And so it’s almost like we both know enough to be dangerous in the other realm. And so she’ll say something and I’m like, yeah, but what about that? The, what about that might be relevant, but she’s worked past that a long time ago.
And so now I think what can go on in her mind and honestly the same in my mind is, okay, I’m going to have to catch you up because what you said is a legitimate question. It’s a good question to ask, but I’ve already solved that question and I really don’t want to take the time catching you up on that question because there’s really no point.
And then, well, Andrew, it was hard too for a while, is everything he does the design side on the manufacturing side, back in the day, everything he does affects me. So I need to be in the know, however, nothing I do affects him. It’s like his role in the position. So he comes home and he wants to talk about work and wants to hear about all the things.
I don’t need to tell you, like I’m done working and then just, I think, yeah, it’s been like a hard, and I think we’ve long ago realized the business is my baby. The product is his baby, but I think with the business being my baby and with my personality, I need to work eight to five and then cut it off and shut it down and really protect my evenings and protect my weekends and not talk about it.
Whereas for him, it could be nine o’clock, 10 o’clock, 11 o’clock at night. And he’s like, oh, I had this amazing idea. And it might be an idea that’s in his field of design and creativeness, but it affects my world. And so quickly, I think we went from back in the day and me being able to listen and like ideate with him, to me being like, whoa, no, now I’m stepping into like work mode.
And so either you’re going to get work Haley and I’m grumpy. After hours, or we need to shut this conversation down now. And in the real talk version of that, if you want the real talk, I think in many ways, this is my wife and I want to come home and share my day at work with my wife. And I’ve got this super exciting idea about this thing.
That happens to be work, but it’s so exciting. I want to tell my wife, my significant other, this person I love and I’m friends with. And then she shuts it down because she’s running through her mind. You’re trying to add like seven skews. We need to Bible skews, design the skews, get them on boxes, buy stickers for the skews, rearrange all our backend porters plan, rearrange all the jobs.
And I’m like, what are you talking about? I said, I was just like, I’m just ideated here. Like, what’s your problem?
And I think a lot of it has made us examine from the very beginning of our relationship. There was FLÎKR the name of Barb from day one, there was a product FLÎKR. And so I’ve had a baby before you even got married. It was like the baby already existed. And then you got married. Yeah, exactly. And it’s like, we even knew like, oh, we both enjoy rock climbing.
We both like biking. We both like hiking. We both enjoy doing similar things. And it wasn’t until this year that we even did a couple of those things for the first, because the business was always. Yeah. And it’s my dad, always, my dad builds our child at home and he always told me that the home you build yourself has never finished.
He was going to add on this or redo this or redo that. And I think it’s the business you own yourself is it’s never done. You’re always progressing, always changing it, always adapting to the market or whatever you want to be doing. And I think for me too, it is my baby in the sense that I can be at the shop all day long and I can come home and start designing on my laptop.
And I’m happy as a duck. Yeah, I am thrilled. She’s like put your laptop down does not work time. And I’m like, I’m unwinding. I don’t know what you’re doing. Yeah, I get it. I’m resonating. Yes. I resonate with you Travis, because I, in some ways I think my husband’s probably a little bit more like Haley and I’m probably a little bit more like you where my brain never stops.
I’m constantly thinking about the next project and I enjoy it. It doesn’t like pull me down. It kind of brings me life. I get excited about it. But my husband, when I mentioned something, he already sees a to-do list and the to-do list feels a little overwhelming. He’s like, wait, I already did a to do list.
Like I’m ready now to just relax. I just want to have fun. I don’t want to be thinking about where for me, it’s easy for it to just, I am constantly creating in my head and I can have 5 million creation tabs open at one time and I don’t need to close them before I start another one. So I very much resonate with what you’re saying.
And I think. Hard. How have you just now finally able to start enjoying the fruits of your labors hiking and what kinds of things do you guys like to do together and how do you have you learned to prioritize? All right. When we go on a hike, we’re not going to talk about work or like she shuts it down quick.
She says it out real quick. She goes, okay, we’re going to go out today. And what’s funny is we enjoy food. We enjoy good food. And she’s an incredible cook we’re often here, but especially after a very long day, she’s like, oh my word, let’s just go get something. And so it’s something we enjoy together. It’s not as uniQure outdoorsy as cycling or something, but she’ll say.
No workshop at all. And that’s really tough because I’m like, oh babe. So I did this really cool, but also you have to have like a serious, like a more like serious work talk. We like doing it out like that as well. So we definitely use that time, but I think often it’s like, we could be hiking, doing something fun.
We were mountain biking a few weeks ago in Northern Michigan and he’s in front of me multiple feet and we’re talking about work hours. So I’m like, okay, whatever. But I think also it just gets fun boxing. Yeah. I think our styles are very different. And so that’s where, especially when I’m not in, like let’s sit down and actually be mentally ready for this work.
Talk with our communication styles. We’ve learned we’re often on the same page actually, or we’re saying the same thing, but I come at it from one direction and he comes in and day. My husband was. I got it for like 20 minutes. And then at the end of the 20 minutes, I’m like, I think we’re saying the same thing.
We just wasted 20 minutes yelling at each other. Not really young, but having this heated debate when at the end of the day we’re saying this, yeah. Like we always end up at M or whatever the middle letter of the alphabet is, but I came from, she came from Z and yeah, it’s wildly, but I hate, I think time boxing has helped.
We’re going to say, okay, we’re going to dinner. And during this dinner, this dinner, this timespan of dinner, we’re going to talk about this work stuff. She has an agenda laid out. You go, you talk about it over dinner. And then. Period. So we get home no more of that. And so I think there’s times I’d say let’s take them out bike ride, and we’re going to talk about it.
I’m not my God. We’re not, we’ve also gotten into golfing recently, which has been fun. And you’re so spread out.
We can talk. Yeah. Right. And I, I have definitely had to learn. Yeah, boy, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve heard a little one, I think just even in business, because there’s times where it is my baby, but now it’s a shared baby and really the business wouldn’t be where it is without Hayley. And so then at times I don’t feel needed because her job now is wildly needed.
Now that we’ve outsourced production, I don’t feel needed. So then I’m still working. I’m still progressing. But at my validation is a man. I mean, whatever that is, even for my wife, it can feel lacking at times because I’m like, why do I exist? And what am I doing? What’s the point of this?
And you are a go getter. You kind of that empty space is like, I have to fill it with something. I need a new challenge. I need a new, and for our spouses, that can feel very overwhelming because you’re like, oh wait, we just did all of this. Right. And she’s like, okay, once we hand over manufacturing, you, we’re not going to sit around the house because I’m in the house in my office and I’d not want you in every fight.
Giving me a hug or something. Cause you’re bored. Yeah. Oh my gosh. My shut my office door and I’m like, really, honey, I love you.
He’ll walk past my office, open the door to say he loves me. And like literally 20 minutes later, it registers in my brain and I’m like, oh, okay. Now I can resonate with that. Actually, I understand that. Yeah. I do think that it is something I’ve noticed recently about Travis, about him being, you know, we were talking earlier very hands-on and needing to like build and make and do things with his hands, but also be creative is that I think we also both thought that this year would be like, oh, like Travis is in his sweet spot.
His job is research and development. You know, it’s just pulling that creative miss. Um, but I think we’ve both realized that he actually really also needs very hands-on. Like manual work as well to also let the creativeness, I don’t think we’ll be at a show and sometimes people will look at me and they say, oh wow, you invented this and you made this and it’s a little, no, man’s an island.
And I think we’d none of us designed vacuum very well. And maybe it’s an online blog. You’re reading, maybe it’s Pinterest boards, Google images, but you’re always getting ideas or you’re talking with somebody about ideas. I think very few, if anyone designs on an island. And so I can look at the history even of the company and to say we’re self-made, I think is unbelievable.
Arrogant insurance side. My dad, when I was starting this, my dad bought me a welder and guy couldn’t afford it, bought me a welder. Had he not bought that welder, uh, wouldn’t have been able to build the tables we were manufacturing on. And you see just this chain of people in your life who wow. If it really wasn’t for that thing that enabled me to dilly dally with a side project in my home, in my garage.
I never could have launched this and that. I think design wise as well, even the concepts of boundaries are really helpful and a budget can seem like, oh, this things I have to be on a budget, but I think really it actually frees you up because you don’t have to worry about it. And so I think for me, St.
John, Go design 10 hours a day, have a blast. And I wake up. I’m like, well, yeah. And so need a little more structure, a little more structure. So we’re getting that. And we’ve been working actually my brother’s manufacturing company and kind of the guy who heads up our FLÎKR production area, a lot more conversations with him, diving in really well with that in a lot of back and forth.
I had my, his many phase yet a 200,000 square foot manufacturing facility that does mirrored sundry. But I am the guy. I think half of them they’ll know who I am. I’m just the guy. Who’s not dressed like an employee and I’m walking around and I’ll go to the wood shop that they have. And I was like, Hey guys, what if we did this in fast for this or that?
This dude? I know it works. What I realized is that like, oh, it’s the president’s brother. So I have to answer him and I have to talk. And then I found out they’re all like interrupting their day to do that. And I’m like, whoa guys, no, no, no. I’m lowest on the totem pole here. And I go over to the middle shop and I’m like, Hey guys, what do you think about this?
We can do this and this. And what I’ve actually found is driving everyone else. It’s like the equivalent of him coming in 10 times to say he loves you. And they’re like, get out of here. What I have actually found is. As my brother always calls it, the unsexy side of manufacturing, it’s just raw manufacturing.
And so they, a lot of them I’ve actually found they’re very creative. They’ve got a lot of good ideas, but that’s not what they do. They come in and they stamp that part every day, what they do what’s needed the job. So when I come in, I’m like, Hey guys, what if we did this? They’re like, oh, wow. And so. I get satisfied in that they’re satisfied now.
And then she’s happy. Cause I don’t come home talking about work. You get to talk to other people so that she can just golf and enjoy dinner together. Well, what is one goal that you still hope to achieve yet? So I like asking this question. We’re all about goals here. Whether it be personal or professional, if you could either like create another product or what is any goal that you too hope to achieve yet in your lifetime?
I have an answer. So we are right now we have liquor. We have this fireplace. I have lots of ideas for other things, but I think something that’s always set with me is when Hailey’s. I joined your thing and she did, she joined my thing and it’s now her thing, but it was my thing. I have a secret desire to somehow launch Hailey into design B clothing or something that she’s passionate about.
She it’s not secret anymore, no longer a secret desire. I think it would be fun and really the business’s her baby. And so she does have her own thing. Sure. But I think it would be really neat. She’s invested a lot in this idea of mine. I give you a really neat to turn around the financial and or creative juices we have in availability.
We have to actually kind of launch something of hers. And I don’t even know if she knows what that would be yet, but as far as you want to Haley. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Okay. What would be your dream launch? What would you want guys in the limit? I think honestly, like. My brain is just so FLÎKR. Like I, I think about a year ago I was like, okay, I’m ready to do something else.
Like, I want to do something more, something with more purpose. Maybe it’s just purposeful. I’m personally more passionate about it, or maybe it’s bettering the world in a more purposeful way. But I think about a year ago, and that’s when I found brand builders is when I realized like, I’m want to do something else eventually or something next after this.
But I think it’s just this time of year, this year that I’m like, okay, maybe I can start thinking about this, but then really flickered, just kind of. Yeah. So I don’t really know, but I’ve always known. I always tell people it’s funny. The first book I ever bought myself when I was 10 years old was a kid’s business book.
And I see definitely great thing, money, very few people ever. I remember where it was in Barnes and noble, like super weird. I remember like forever for years, I would always try to come up with, especially on long car rides. I’d always try to come up with like business ideas of what I could invent. And my parents would always be like, you know, Haley, like you could just run a coffee shop or you could open a clothing store.
I’m like, no, no, no. I want to make something. And they’re like, it’s never been done. Okay, well, so come up with ideas and they’re like, well, I think someone’s already doing that, or, well, that might not be possible. And one of them was flying cars and I thought I was a genius. Listen, girl, I would not put it.
I think flying cars go for it. I literally though, I remember getting so frustrated one day and I was like, you know what? I don’t think anyone invented anything. Cause God invented it all first. So frustrated that like, I couldn’t have. Creative like original idea. And then I met a guy that did, and I was like, whew, I guess we’re in the business.
And then he inspires that creativity. Yeah. Now I gotta think of what my thing. Well, there’s a lot in there. I could honestly pick up this laptop we’re recording on right now and give you a tour of the home. She has done incredibly well and she would freak out, Hey, we’re not going to do that. Be she freak out because it’s not clean enough, but her, or is that a guy is very good.
And I think one day something becoming just bigger than FLÎKR. And I think it’s kind of a goal, you know, you mentioned at the start of this, a FLÎKR fire moment launching just that concept of what is a FLÎKR fire moment. We get a lot of emails saying, Hey, last night at dinner, we lit this up. And my teenage kids put down their phones and stayed for like an hour longer.
Yeah. It never happened to us. That’s this celebratory moment. And I think in a lot of ways, let’s say a year ago, Haley was. You’re like I’m worn out. I’m mentally tired. Sure. We have sales, but what’s the point? Are we just trying to make money and sell stuff? And it’s just this transactional, that was the point of all.
And then you get an email like that and you’re like, ah, that’s really cool. That’s really cool. The business obviously needs to make money for its own self. But when we hear these stories about people enjoying it, we got an email. I think you actually show it to me. But it was a several months ago. I think it was a lady’s husband had just died and she had just gotten a FLÎKR and she had written, it was a week later or something, but she said every day I liked this FLÎKR and I’m watching this living flame and I’m staring at that.
And it’s, you know, and I don’t know what it was for her was a meditative. I’m not sure, but, uh, we look at that and I can almost cry at that because I’m like someone isn’t is accepted this thing that we made into their home and into their life. And it’s now impacting them and it’s like, wow. I got energy for another day.
Yeah. It’s hard. It’s that balance between you’re filled with life, by what your product is giving to other people. And then balancing that with making sure that you two are getting your own FLÎKR fire moments, right. In order to feed back into. The ongoing challenge is any type of marriage in general is finding that balance to fuel yourself.
What we’re going to take a quick break. And when we come back, stay tuned for a speed round of this or that with Travis and Haley, we’re going to learn a little bit more about them, and we’re going to hear their expert advice on how to turn your creation into a multimillion dollar success. When we come back from this break, save time.
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Perfectly empowered journal tab to sign up for a free issue of the in perfectly empowered journal today. All right, we are back here with Travis and Haley Sierra. We’re going to play this or that it is this or that two options. Don’t think about it too hard. And first we’ll start with Travis burger or hot dog Haley cake or pie.
Hi, what’s your favorite pie? Ooh, something was like Blackberry. Oh, I have not heard that answer a lot or what? I need like a cranberry ginger snap pie. That’s really good. Wow. That sounds amazing. I’ve not heard those yet. I need those recipes, Travis, on a plane crying baby, beside you or an adult who doesn’t stop talking adult who doesn’t stop talking because Bose invented noise, canceling headphones.
I just ignore them. He does ignore people on planes. It drives me crazy. Hilarious. Okay. Haley what’s worse. Laundry or dishes? Dishes. Travis LA or New York. New York. Oh, this is okay. We have rewind for a moment.
And you took notes there, right? What Haley does not like laundry or. Yeah, I’m throwing you a ball here.
Marriage therapy, Haley, London, or Paris. That’s hard I say in London, cause I’ve been to Paris because I want to get otherwise. Okay. Both of you toilet paper. This is a heated question. Crumble or fold. Whoo they’ve unity. They’re all right. They’re both. Grumblers that’s probably why your marriage is so successful.
Forget both crumble. And if I can actually interject, I will say I introduced her to baking soda toothpaste, like an arm and hammer baking soda to. And she loves it. And I can not tell you the joy of unity. When we take one, we face to on a vacation or a trip, one visit, and she loves the toothpaste and then she’ll try another toothpaste cause we’re out or something.
And she’s like, oh, that’s awful. And I’m like, I agree. It’s so bad. I’m so glad the couples are using two different toothpastes. Is this a normal occurrence and a lot of homes? I have no idea. I think my parents did interesting. I’ll have to ask them, but you two are unified on the toilet paper habits, toilet paper crumpling.
Well, you’re passing on a legacy, so continue. Okay. Travis personal yacht or private jet
life-changing questions privately. Okay. Haley last question. Camping in the woods or by the beach in the woods. Oh, okay. Are you not a beach person or you just love being with, yeah. I love the ocean. I love being in the water. I hate sand. I’d rather like Rocky cliff. I would rather have a beach because you get the white noise of the waves all night long.
The beach. Yeah. Beach is always my answer, but it’s funny. People do not like sand. I think too, if you didn’t grow up going to the beach, I think it’s an established thing. Some people it’s just, yeah. Well, I think for him saying basically dirt it’s like, whereas thing is like saying you just cannot control when it’s in your car.
It’s everywhere it’s in. So I think for her dirt everywhere. Yeah. Just wait till you have kids. I mean, it’s literally never ending. They eat the sand and then you’re still seeing the sand come back around through various processes. Like a day later it never ends. It’s a natural colon cleanse, right?
And they’re never going to have kids now. All right. Well, we’ve been talking about dream products, so it’s funny. I’ve mentioned this before. My dream product in life is this hands-free bookstand and page Turner that I can clip to my beach lounger, like a pool loungers that lay back, because when I’m done, I’m like done.
I want to be in full lazy mode and my arms fall asleep. When you hold a book over your head to read, you know, when you’re laying out. So that’s my dream product. So a lot of people listening may Travis, his wheels are already watching him. And he’s like, thinking about what product would I use to create that.
Battery powered solar powered, solar powered we’re in the sun anyway. Yeah. That’s my life changing product that the world needs. But I’m curious because a lot of people, this is like a surreal thought process for them. They might have a product in their head that they would love to create. Maybe they’re creative at heart, but the thought of actually creating a product going through the process and then ultimately having in retail stores around the world feels like a very unlikely, impossible goal.
Tell me from like the ground level, what is the first step in getting your product from your head to reality? What is step number one? Uh, you gotta be able to prototype it now. Does that mean for those of us who are ignorant to what prototype mean? Does that mean put it on paper, draw it out or I’m hands-on I enjoy graphic design.
I’m not an artist. And so I’m a terrible designer in that sense. I need to. I have it physically made. So even if it’s a fireplace, make it out of wood, can you just do it, make a shape? And if you like it, and honestly, I would even say, and of course this is if we’re assuming a physical product in the physical product realm, 3d printers have revolutionized that, uh, yeah.
And if you can’t design, uh, in 3d, which can be very difficult. Um, you know, you can, their services online, you know, hire somebody, you can just freelance. And also a lot of local libraries, local libraries have 3d printers, local library. We’re here in Chattanooga, Tennessee, our local library, I think has four and you just rent time on it and you gotta pay for the plastic filament, you know, maybe 10 bucks, uh, but it gives you access to it.
And so I think printing it and just having that concept, there are a lot of things that I’ve thought of in different shapes or different products once it’s actual you’re like, Ooh, no, that does not work. Um, so I think just, just getting and that’s, for me, I’m a hands-on I think for a lot of people getting it written down may work well, you know, kind of a schematic of it, but I encourage, if it just make one we’ll, we’ll worry about making sure.
10 or hundreds or thousands later. That’s that’s manufact. That’s a manufacturing problem right now. Let’s just get out of it, get it out of your head and actually have having objects. Yeah. Now, so let’s say, because you just threw out a lot of concepts. There are 3d design, um, the printer concept, the graphic design concept.
Um, so let’s say you’re somebody like me who terrible at 3d design. I can’t draw to save my life. I’m definitely a creative at heart. I’ve got a million ideas floating through my head. Um, I have no idea what a 3d printer even looks like. Um, nor would I know how to use one. So let’s say somebody listening is like me.
They have a dream product. They’d love to take step number one. So you said a library, but is who would be somebody that they could contact to help bring what’s in their head to love? Like who would be people that would do that? Who would you Google? It depends on what level of, you know, if you’re kind of needing it overall person, or if you’re like, I just know I need a designer or I know I need someone that can, you know, put this idea into schematics or this idea into a 3d printer, like Upwork, Upwork, upwork.com.
Um, on Upwork you hired their freelancers are on the world. So you need a cartoon of your kid made, okay. Send the, send somebody a picture of your kid and for. 45 bucks. They’ll make it a cartoon, send it back. Uh, I was like a prototype of my child. I need to see if this is going to work out before I make three more of them.
This one will work, uh, coy, you know, splicing. Uh that’s that, um, I, I think in many ways, I think all of us know someone who can, who can do something. It sounds like you rely on your husband a little bit for some of this, but oh yeah. Well, he actually is a computer. He’s a computer programming teacher. He does 3d print.
Like he’s definitely, um, oh yeah, he could do all that kind of thing. I’m just wondering for somebody who would have some idea in their head and is just curious how it even gets started. I think this is helpful. So for any of you watching and listening up work.com, there’s another word or Upwork work, work with a cake.
There’s another called fiverr.com. It’s five with two RS. Uh, so F I V E R r.com. That’s another kind of version of Upwork. There’s a lot of things out there like that. I think too, though, it’s the fact that we don’t design in a vacuum. So talk to your friends about it. Talk to you, you know, if you say, have an idea for a fireplace, uh, in your con you have constraints, be it in your wall or something first out of your husband, then tell, tell your.
Over a glass of wine. You know, talk, talk about your idea because odds are, you’re going to run across someone. I’ll do it. One of your friends can draw it out on a napkin. I, I have a retired 65 year old buddy in Seattle. We talk two hours a week on the phone. Even now I left Seattle, uh, five years ago. And even now we still talk on the phone.
He flew to my wedding. He’s just awesome, man, loving his wife. And he was an electrical engineer, so he can draw very well to get schematics. And so I’m brainstorming with him, this fairytale concept of this fireplace of I’ve thought of, well, he immediately starts with drawing just doodling and he hands it to me and I’m like, uh, no, not that change that right.
Then it’s like, oh, we realize we want it to be roughly five inches in diameter. Okay. Well now I’m, you know, walking in this. Oh, I should have said this first. Haley’s like, yes. Walk into Lowe’s or home Depot. Yeah. And just walk around. There is rope turnbuckles, uh, pulleys wood metal, sheet metal, round metal, square metal.
Uh, it, it depends on what you’re making, but I have spent, uh, over the past years, the equivalent of days walking around and, you know, someone will walk out very help and you’re like, hi, can I help you with something? And I’m like, no, they’re like, well, what are you looking for? I don’t know, but something, uh, in, and so, you know, for me, when I’m dealing know, obviously we’re dealing with some men, so I’m walking around, looking at containers, TJ Maxx, I’ve done the same thing at TJ Maxx.
I walk around and I go back to the kitchen area because cement releases very well out of plastic. Plastic is not poorest. And so it doesn’t grab it so it can pop out easily. So I’m just looking at shapes. I’m just looking at a bunch of different shapes. Now, when I say prototype your idea, I’m not going to, you know, if I need to sell 10,000 of those shapes, I’m not going to go to TJ, max and buy 10,000 bowls or whatever.
That’s not sustainable. It’s not doable, but for one, you do it for one. And I’ve actually found with Hailey, she’ll have a design idea, be graphic or physical. Um, and so I’ll make it, and it’s my interpretation of what she said. And sometimes she looks at him, she’s like, oh no, no, not that. And I’m like, I did exactly what you said.
And she’s like, yeah, but now that I’m seeing it, not, not that. And you go back and forth. And that’s why I often say even if it’s made out of an object that isn’t the final products, uh, just try it. Um, right. So that prototype, so you have, you have created some sort of physical representation of what is in your head.
So for those of you watching and listening, that is step number one, doesn’t matter how pretty or not pretty, it looks, just create some sort of physical representation of what you have in your head, or have somebody who is very hands-on and creative, do it for you and work together with them. So you have this prototype, which is what we call prototype, which has what they call prototype.
I don’t know what I’m talking about, but so you take this and then how, how do you infuse kind of the science into the products and the materials and what you need to create it into the final product? Like, what is the next step with that prototype? Because again, for those of us that don’t know what we’re doing, Yeah, it definitely depends on what you’re trying to do.
And I think too, looking at what is, what is your passion in this? So it sounds like your passion in a page turning book is, is the ease that that would give you. And it does solve a somewhat practical problem. It’s not like you’re picturing holding a book up. I’m picturing holding up very generous with my product.
I don’t know how practical the problem is that my arms fall asleep when I’m holding a book up about it’s a thing that happens and we can all, we relate with that idea. So it’s practical, but I think so I would ask what’s your, what’s your goal? Now? My goal in that, yes, it’s to solve a practical problem, but honestly I’m as interested in the creation and the creativity as I am in nano products.
Um, you know, that this motorcycle I worked on back in the day, I fixed it up. I loved it. It was perfect. So I sold it and started over. My Discontentment in that arena was not that I had an ugly motorcycle and I wanted a pretty motorcycle. It was, this motorcycle is ugly, and I love the challenge of making it pretty.
So for you, you may not want the material, the science that the material handling crease, you don’t care. You want the final product. Um, I want the final product, but I also feel like the next step would be because you already have the idea. So it’s more so I think going into, are there, you know, standards and regulations for a product of the nature that you’re making, are you going to need to get trademarks?
Could you patent it because you want to get going on all of that super quick. Um, as far as like you, you want to have a patent kind of going typically before you’re really like launching, so I can tell you right now, we’re going to end up at the middle of. I’m starting from a, she started some Z. You’re not answering her.
This is perfect. We need the whole alphabet guy. So this is, I can tell from the various, various, uh, subtle noises she’s making, she wants me to stop talking because she thinks I’m off base and she’s already going into patterns and I’m like, we don’t even have a prototype yet. We’re not going into. And we, she said, this is why we need both of them.
Okay. Because we have the creative aspect over here. So you want to start to put all these products and play with your play with the ideas is what I’m hearing from Travis. Try different, um, you know, go through home Depot. And so in my case, let’s use my product. For example, we could try, we could look at different plastics, like how well would plastic work or maybe we do a metal.
Arm and maybe we do wood, you know, whatever. So you’re, you know, I hear what you’re saying. So play with different materials to get a sense of what would maybe work best. But I also hear what Haley is saying in that if you, you still need to have like the kind of the business people in your life, speaking to where the logistics might need to go with this product.
So there’s still that sense of yes. A lot of logistics. So, so now my question is, again, because we’re not an island who are the kinds of people, again, that you might Google, who need to come into this conversation to help you physically create the product. If you are not creative and then who are the people you need to be Googling to give you the business understanding of what needs to happen, who, who am I Googling to make my dream product come true?
I page Turner a lot in some ways. I’ll probably answer your question. It might take me a minute to get there. We’ll see all this. We’re gonna start on letter G. All right. Okay. Um, I think in many ways, it’s, it’s you need to identify what you want this to be. Do you want this to be a multi-million dollar company?
All right. Then you’re going to need to get a tax attorney. Eventually probably start out with a good bookkeeper. Um, you know, a big difference between a bookkeeper, an accountant that’s to run the business, that’s run the business, but, but if you’re trying to do that, you’re going to want to be an LLC because you’re going to make a lot of money hopefully.
And so. I think there’s kind of two ways to do a business. You know, we did it, we had a product, um, we’re still trying to make, uh, like a vision statement. You know, I talked to a lot of people in there just out of business school and they have this incredible business plan and they have no business and I’m like playing catch up on the business plan.
Right. And so in some ways I’m like if I could go back and I see, I never had the goal to make this a mess as massive as it is. That was never the perfect for something like that. I think most don’t in fairness, I think most don’t like, I, I do agree. I think probably who we’re speaking to initially is the dreamer who would love to try and see what happens and.
I, I agree with both of your points. It’s something you need to think about, you know, kind of in the long-term okay. If this does really work out well, are you prepared with this business side? Like, just keep that in the back of your mind, that’s going to come, which includes the LLC and maybe an IP lawyer, somebody to like get your trademarks and everything.
Um, but. As far as Google, sorry, kind of as far as Googling, the whole idea of we’re we’re not islands. Um, you want to do a page Turner, so you’re thinking about, okay, what are the elements in this? I need something that holds a book. I would start at very basic Google-y things. Uh, book holder image, search.
Yeah. See if there’s people that can bring in to help as far as people like, for instance, even what’s cool is we recently had a guy reach out that is working on certain products that he thinks we have an X, like his product is very different than us, but there’s an element about our product that he wants to incorporate into his and he just can’t figure it out.
And so he reached out to us asking us to sign NDAs and non-competes and things so that he could get up and open conversation to hopefully learn something from us. So I think also, you know, finding people that are doing things maybe similar to you, but not quite the same, um, that was better advice. Do that and reach it and reaching out to them.
You know, obviously again, Your business side of contacts of people and accountants and, you know, kind of things in place. Um, but as far as like helping the actual process or stumps, you may have, I think looking for people that are doing something similar, but not quite, um, that you could have sign like an NDA for you.
And then you can have like open conversations about, so in NDA is a non-disclosure agreement. Um, basically means he has now told me we chat on the phone for about an hour last week. I’m not chatting for about an hour. Like this is what this means. Uh, judge Romano our last week. And I, because I’m a creator, I thoroughly enjoyed it now, you know, a lot of people running business, the amount of time to chat with a random person for an hour, but I kind of fed off of that and a lot of back and forth.
And so non-disclosure means I don’t talk about it in a non-compete means I don’t steal his idea. And I just, so you know, you can nail some of those down, but I would even. Uh, you know, and I don’t know if you’ve had people reach out, you have a, you have a successful podcast. People might reach out to you and say, Hey, I’m thinking about getting into podcasting.
What do you think right now? Some of that you’re like, listen, I just, I’d love to respond to all those eyes all the time. But at the same time, there’s something in doing this that feeds you. And so helping someone else along the way also actually kind of feeds you. And so I think often the, yeah, the person you’re Googling.
Yeah. You find a local shop, find a international. They don’t have to be local to find a small shop, small businesses doing something. Similar, even if the product isn’t similar to on the business side, we learned so much in the beginning, just talking to other businesses, whether it was at trade shows or, you know, we’ve even had businesses reach out to, I haven’t personally done it, but businesses will reach out to us saying, Hey, we love the way you guys are doing this or this.
Or we see you’re on these different websites. Do you have any advice? How did you get there? You know, stuff like that. And I’m often when I have time willing to have those conversations with people, and then we’ve also learned a lot the same way. Well, I love that. I think it’s helpful just to understand the fact is if you have a dream product in your head, first of all, it’s not impossible to get it into stores.
One day, that is not an impossible reality. People are doing it every day. So if you have that dream, go for it, get a prototype. And then this was, I’m bringing it to the M here. But, you know, I think if you know that your product could be made out of plastic or it could be made out of wood, like find a woodworker.
If it’s made out of metal, find, um, you know, somebody who is, you know, dealing with metal and whatever the case may be, find that creative, if you can’t do it with your own hands or, you know, channel Travis and wander around home Depot, and you might even meet somebody in the home Depot aisle who can make your product for you.
So, anyway, I love that. I love that. The fact is it is possible that your dreams can come true. So just because you don’t know how the process works, don’t be afraid to learn. And to try, we’re going to have a FLÎKR fire moment here. I have my little. Things, hopefully I don’t burn my house down. All right.
So those of you watching, this is all you need to light your fire, this fire. I shouldn’t say I, so propyl alcohol and I have my little mini marshmallows. I’ve not done this yet. So this is, this is a real, this is live TV. So I will, that I would say the minis are great though. So, uh, I I’ll, I’ll critique you a little bit there.
The minis are great because you can put a whole bunch of them on there because I don’t know about everybody else, but for me, the whole, the goodness of roasting a marshmallow is the charred sugar on the outside. The gooey inside is not my. So pick a whole bunch of the mini guys on there, and you get a ton of charged surface area Harrison to gooey center ratio.
Well, I have to, so this ratio is better than one at least. And let’s hope I don’t burn my hand off here. I, when I lift this actually for the first time my husband walked in ISA, whoa, it’s a huge candle. I said, um, it’s bigger than a candle, smaller than a fire. Like it’s you. I do joke with people. I had a cousin once where it, a family reunion thing several months ago and he’s living in Sweden right now.
And um, and there you go. That’s amazing. That’s beautiful. You’re good. He’s living in Sweden right now. And we haven’t caught up in a, in a long time. And so we’re, we’re at this family unit and he, and he goes, ah, Travis, Hey man. So are you still making those little candle things? And I was like, Hmm, I kind of want to punch you.
Uh, yeah. Where we do confuse people, especially that kind of early to market, uh, early getting this into the marketplace. We, we confuse people because we say it’s a, it’s a fireplace and people look at it and they say, no, it’s not. And I’m like, well, top fireplace that’s to me, that’s what it is is it’s, you know, you, we can literally put this on our tabletop and my kids could all roast marshmallows on it.
The other thing that I love, I’m totally going to burn my marshmallows. The other thing that I love about it is the fact that there’s no sun, there’s no set from these. Yup. So it’s a, so I suppose alcohol, it is. Oh, I could go down a rabbit hole of science explanations here. It is clean burning it only, the only offgassing is carbon dioxide and water vapor.
So it’s only going to put, sit where the flame touches inside of the brake chamber. Done no fun science fact of the day. Oh, this is fun right here. Does I could have done this much, much better, but look at that. Beautiful. Yeah. And we tell people all the time, if you can stab it on a steak, so many hot dogs, if you can stop it on a stick, you can roast it.
Let’s get that quote. We’ve done many hot dogs, pineapple Jones. Um, I love it. It’s going to be, does the alcohol taste. No. I only have 60% of my taste back cause I had COVID and lost my thankfully it was very mild, but I don’t taste any strange. No. So it tastes just like, it would over a campfire heat here.
Yeah. The, uh, over a campfire, what you’re tasting is the carbon. And so it’s the same thing, roasting it over the fireplace. So it’s actually cleaner. It’s a more clean burn than, um, like doing it over a campfire because since you don’t know if there’s anything sprayed on the logs or there’s bugs in the logs or, you know, during the leaves.
Yeah. But it tastes. And so here’s, so we’re going to have you try something. Do you, do you have a small drinks, coaster or something on your desk? Jeff, this is what I was going to use to put the flame out the little metal cap you want me to do? So if this is for those of you watching here, this is just like a little metal.
Um, it actually goes on a candle. So I’m going to go with this
and that’s it. It’s really amazing. I absolutely love it. I love it. So my plan is, let me tell you all how I’m going to use this. I am actually going to give this to my kids for Christmas. Um, and yeah, they don’t know that yet. So it’s going to get wrapped underneath the tree. One of the things that we’re going to do then on Christmas as a family is we’re going to have indoor smores.
And for anybody listening and watching who has young kids, this is going to be like, what mind exploding that we can do indoor smores. So there’s so many things with this. I absolutely love the FLÎKR fire moments. IDI love, love fires. So one more is perfect and now I can put it on my tabletop, but I love your vision.
And I love the way that you are so passionate about sharing people’s FLÎKR, fire moments and being intentional with your product. And I pray God’s continued blessing over your business over your marriage, that you guys get lots of your own Blicher fire moments and keep inspiring. Everyone else has been an honor to have you guys.
Absolutely. Thank you so much for joining us for this episode of the imperfectly empowered podcast. It is my honor to be here with you. I am so grateful for each and every one of you. If you were watching on YouTube, be sure to click the subscribe button below. So you don’t miss a show and leave a comment with your thoughts from today’s episode below.
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