We sat down with the founder and CEO of CRAVEBOX, John Accardi, to hear his story and what it’s been like to grow a company from scratch to 8-figures in revenue.
John started the company in 2014. He dropped out of a PhD program at Georgetown University with very little cash and he didn’t raise any capital or take any loans. John said “I was already doing something very risky by dropping out of school to start a company. I didn’t want to take on even more risk by piling up debt or using other peoples’ money.” John started CRAVEBOX in his apartment in Washington, DC and bootstrapped it with his own hard work and effort. He had no prior experience or education in business or e-commerce so there was a steep learning curve.
For the first few years, sales were slow and it was difficult to attract traffic to cravebox.com but in time, CRAVEBOX’s products became more popular. John moved into larger warehouses each year and is currently in a 60,000sqft warehouse in North Wales, PA. He also employs about 35 employees.
We asked John what it takes to grow a company and he said “The most important thing is persistence. You’re going to run into problems and rejection constantly and you need to be the kind of person that gains energy from these negative experiences. You have to get a bit frustrated and do what it takes to break through.” John mentioned that his company hardly did any sales for the first 3 years. He said that he worked all day, every day for 3 years, was doing no sales, and losing money. But he had a feeling success was around the corner so he stayed persistent and kept working. John said, “It can be really tricky because you’re working very hard, being productive, and moving in the right direction, but the results might lag by a few years. You need to have the patience and courage to stay in the game and wait for those results.”
John says that dropping out of school to start CRAVEBOX was the best decision he ever made. “The freedom of starting and running your own business is priceless. Plus, I hated going to school or working for someone else. I dreamed of starting my own business for many years prior to actually doing it.” And according to John, starting a business did not disappoint. It lived up to the wonderful adventure and life that he imagined it would.
In the future, John is excited to keep growing CRAVEBOX. He’s especially excited about their holiday-themed products – Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and a new Gourmet Snacks Package. He thinks these categories offer a great value to customers and will grow quickly. John also recently started STARCOURSE CAPITAL, LLC – a venture capital firm that invests in young e-commerce companies. Ultimately he’d like for STARCOURSE CAPITAL to invest in biotech and life extension technologies to help us live longer. But he knows that’s far off into the future and for now, he’ll stick with what he knows best, e-commerce.