Interview with Koby Conrad, 20-year-old Co-Founder of Hippies Hope Shop and Mother Hemp

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Koby Conrad is a 20 year old E-Commerce Entrepreneur. He currently owns 150,000 likes on Facebook, and the store Hippies Hope Shop and Mother Hemp Products. Recently he has had an article about him published in Business Insider and he is currently planning to take on investors to expand Hippies Hope Shop. He likes the piano and to study Arabic. During the summers he loves to go hiking and swimming. He was born and raised in Boise, Idaho.

Great to meet you Koby, before we get started, Can you introduce yourself and a little more about yourself?

Sure! I am a 20 year old E-Commerce entrepreneur who owns Hippies Hope Shop and Mother Hemp Products. Currently I am in the process of selling half of Hippies Hope Shop in the hopes of raising more money for an expansion. I play the piano and speak a fair bit of Moroccan Arabic.

Can you talk about how Hippies Hope Shop and Mother Hemp Products were born?

I’ve always wanted to start a business, and my girlfriend always wanted to own a hippie shop. We had just started dating and decided it would be something fun to do together. 7 Months later Hippies Hope Shop is now my full time job and Mother Hemp is doing pretty good as well. We just passed 150K total likes on Facebook. I guess you could say I just love business? I used to be really big into video games, I guess I grew out of that and into business.

Can you talk about how exactly how you attracted 150k likes on your Facebook pages?

Yeah sure, hold on, let me get you some statistics.

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What we do is spend money building up our community, so we spend them on likes. The average cost of a like on Facebook is $1.07, but we’ve been able to AB test our ads down to $0.02/like in some cases. Now we are so big that we just get organic growth, so even if we never spend another penny on Facebook ads, our community will just keep growing.

How much would you say went into acquiring 150k Likes?

I’ve probably spent about $4,000 in likes so far. With the new money we have coming in we’re hoping we will be able to hit 1,000,000 likes. You really don’t have to spend too much on likes to create a big community. Once you hit 10,000 there starts to be a lot of organic growth.

Where do you get the Hippie Shop products and how do you identify people who likes your products?

Some of our product we make, and the rest we import from all over the world! We basically just look around and pick what we think is cool. Like for our hippie clothes, we are importing these hand-made dresses from a lady in the U.S. but for the elephant bags we import them from this small village in Northern Thailand. And the people who like our product actually aren’t just hippies. Most of our sales come from people who like hippies, rather than hippies themselves.

Before you started all of this, did you know that people wanted to buy hippies products and how did you go about finding the products?

Yeah I did actually, when I first started the Facebook page, The Hippy Bloggers, had 17,000 likes. I did a post asking people what they thought of a store that sold hippie clothes, and for each item that gets sold, donates a meal to someone in need. I got a very positive response.
Then I just started googling and contacting people looking for awesome product.

What were your intentions and what inspired to starting the Facebook Page in the first place?

I love social media, the possibility of something going “viral” thrilled me. The fact that there are people out there that think like me. That’s sort of the whole thing about running a Facebook page, you post what you find inspiring, what you love, and then the people who think like you will start to follow you.

Intentions were to make money, but also to help people I guess. There’s a lot of good that can come from running a business. I can employee people, I can buy product from people, I have to market, why not do cause marketing? We’re a for profit business, but I think that we exist in a very positive way.

What’s the story behind your other business Mother Hemp?

I’m what you might call a Cannabis Entrepreneur? There is a huge billion dollar, completely legal business that revolves around Cannabis. Hippies and hemp both overlap very heavily.
Hemp is amazing for you, and I wanted to start my own product line. Currently it includes mostly body products like hemp lotion and shampoo, but we’re hoping to be able to add hemp seeds and oil to our line soon as well.

What can you say to someone like me, who always wanted to start an e-commerce business, but didn’t know what to sell?

1. Shopify.com is your platform.
2. Learn HTML and CSS in 10 hours at codecademy.com
3. www.wholesalecentral.com – pick something.
4. USPS.com + Endecia.com + DYMO XL Label-writer & 4″x6″ labels
5. Sign up for Paypal.com & Stripe.com
And then you’re ready to start selling.

Since you started all this endeavor, did you ever face any problems or felt like it wasn’t going to work? How did you deal with that?

Yeah I did. There was one point where I wasn’t quite sure it was going to work, I didn’t realize how much money was actually required to start something like this. Thankfully I have some amazing investors who helped me out.

At 20-year-old, how exactly do you find people to make lotion for your brand?

My partner handles the creation of it down in Arizona – i’m the marketing ends of things for Mother Hemp Products, so it doesn’t take up too much of my time. I just make sure that our growth is on track based on the resources that we have available to us.

On your personal website, you say that you consult for free about SEO, Social Media, and E-commerce. Why you decided to help other for free and how did you learn to do all of these things?

Doing things for free is one of the best ways to SEO. By giving up your services in exchange for recognition (a back link), you are helping your business rank higher on Google. Kobyconrad.com is for a future project way down the road, one day I want to be an angel investor. Right now I am just putting content on the domain and building the Domain Authority so the website is more useful to me in the future.

I learned how to SEO from one of the founders of www.CheckMaid.com.

Can you talk about your e-Book “Building Social Media”?

That’s honestly nothing too big, just I go over social media a lot and condensed a lot of it down into a small EBook to save me time. For anyone who is trying to improve their Facebook page it’s a good read for all the tricks I do for my growth.

You also have a Facebook page “Collective News” what’s this about?

Ha, that would be another project of mine. If you can predict what your end game is going to be, you can give yourself a head start by taking action now. Collective News is for a news source that I plan to start in the future.

What’s the secret behind all these Likes that you have on your Facebook pages?

No secret, just post good content. Don’t talk about yourself too much & just play around with things. See what works and what doesn’t, and then try and do more of the good things.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years from now?

Hopefully running a couple different shops like Hippies Hope Shop and Mother Hemp. I would like to venture into something that’s a little bit more in the tech field, but i’m not quite sure what that would be yet.

What’s your general advice to other young entrepreneurs?

Just get started. I wish I would have started when I was 16 instead of 19. When you are in high school is the perfect time to start a business, you usually have absolutely no personal costs.
You’re not supposed to know what you’re doing, you’re supposed to learn.

Anything else you would like to share with us?

pixlr.com – awesome photoshop without having to spend money.

Thank you for reading. If you liked the interview or know someone that would like it, Please share it. If you learned anything or are inspired by Koby’s story, leave a comment below and let me know. Thanks again.
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4 thoughts on “Interview with Koby Conrad, 20-year-old Co-Founder of Hippies Hope Shop and Mother Hemp

  1. Hey Buntu, this is an excellent interview. I stumbled upon this gentleman a few days ago and thought to myself, “I wish I could do that!”. So I’ve been excited about pursuing an ebusiness ever since. Great post! I found it through G+.

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